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“Presidential candidate Isko Moreno Domagoso paid a courtesy visit to the Chief Minister Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim at the Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City.”
— Interior Minister Naguib G. Sinarimbo
By EDD K. USMAN
Short link: https://wp.me/paaccn-gAn
(SDN) — Presidential aspirant Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso has received a rousing welcome in Maguindanao province.
Maguindanao is part of the nascent Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)
In Cotabato City, the seat of the BARMM, the regional government under Chief Minister Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim hosted the young candidate in the May 9, 2022 presidential derby, part of the national and local elections.
Minister Naguib G. Sinarimbo, head of the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (BARMM-MILG), said Ebrahim met with Domagoso to hear the latter’s planned platform of government if elected.
“Presidential candidate Isko Moreno Domagoso paid a courtesy visit to the Chief Minister Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim at the Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City this morning (February 21). During this meeting, Isko presented his platform of government,” said Sinarimbo.
“More importantly, he made a commitment that if per chance he gets elected President of the republic, he will continue the implementation of the peace agreement signed between the government and the MILF.”
The mayor was apparently referring to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) headed by Ebrahim signed with the Philippine government on March 27, 2014.
Making the story short, the CAB gave birth to the BARMM through the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) signed by President Rodrigo. The MILF and the government forged the peace deal after 17 years of protracted negotiations that begun in January 1997.
It was only four months after the government signed its Final Peace Agreement (FPA) with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) on September 6, 1996 led by MNLF Founding Chairman Nur P. Misuari.
The MNLF governed the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which BARMM replaced, with Misuari as regional governor and later succeeded by Dr. Parouk Hussin.
May 9, 2022, has 10 aspirants for President
No details yet were revealed on the Ebrahim-Moreno meeting, but the Bangsamoro government made clear other presidential candidates are welcomed to visit the BARMM and lay down their respective platforms.
“The policy of the Bangsamoro Government and our political party, the UBJP, is to welcome all Presidential candidates who would officially visit the region and engage them so as to hear and record their commitment on the continuation of the Mindanao peace process. We will only endorse after listening, hopefully, to all of them. And we will make sure that the best interest of the Bangsamoro people is placed at the center of the endorsement and made a priority of the candidate,” Sinarimbo emphasized.
In this year’s national and local elections, 10 candidates are vying to succeed Duterte who was elected in May 2016, the first Mindanao son ever to win as the Philippine President.
Of the presidential candidates, only one is a rose among thorns, Vice President Leni Robredo, pride of the Bicol Region; the rest all male.
In alphabetical order, they are:
- Ernesto C. Abella
- Leody De Guzman
- Isko Moreno Domagoso
- Norberto Gonzales
- Ping Lacson
- Faisal Mangondato
- Bongbong Marcos
- Jose Montemayor, Jr.
- Manny Pacman Pacquiao
- Leni Robredo
Meanwhile, in Buluan, Maguindanao, more or less 30,000 people assembled on Sunday, February 20, for the mass oath taking of new members of the MILF’s political wing, the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP).
Sinarimbo said the activity was for the UBJP mass oath taking for officers and members of the party in Buluan, Maguindanao.
“We are humbled by the massive show of support of our people to the leadership of the MILF, the BARMM and its political party. We commit to continue to serve you in the best possible way we can. The programs and projects designed to respond to the immediate needs of our people while building a solid foundation for the long term development of the Bangsamoro will continue. Your support to the party’s candidates in the LGUs (local government units) will ensure that a perfect complementation between the Regional government and the Local governments will fast-tract development in the region,” the MILG chief pointed out.
The BARMM is comprised of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi as well as 63 barangays (villages) in North Cotabato under the Bangsamoro government and designated as Special Geographic Area (SGA). Infrastructure projects — a few already completed — are ongoing in various towns and barangays of the BARMM. (✓)