BARMM Gov’t Slams ‘Evil Machinations’, Urges Bangsamoro People to Remain Steadfast, Never Give Up

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COTABATO CITY (SDN) IT APPEARS the advent of the New Year 2023 also carries with it the resurrection, or at least the resumption, of “evil machinations” of Bangsamoro leaders opposed to the historic 2018 Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

To refresh everyone’s mind, befogged, perhaps, by the smoke of the year’s euphoric celebrations that enveloped communities nationwide, the BOL is the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) which the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed with the Philippine Government (GPH) on March 27, 2014.

The many decades-old war for Mindanao independence effectively ended with the forging of the CAB, that was written in blood, sweat, and tears of hundreds of Moro fighters and their counterparts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Not to mention over 100,000 people killed (official figure being mentioned is 120,000, while others say 200,000). Either number is already one too many lives snuffed.

But the BOL, and its first iteration, the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), had to pass through the proverbial eye of the needle, and a gauntlet of anti-BBL and anti-BOL leaders in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Not to mention some Moro political leaders who themselves attempted to torpedo the Bangsamoro’s struggle for self-determination through the MILF (and the Moro National Liberation Front, MNLF).

It seems these political leaders who targeted and continue to target the MILF governance led by Bangsamoro Chief Minister Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim, unsurprisingly, but ironically, also want to be the ones governing the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Come now fresh reports of what BARMM leaders describe as “destabilization efforts” aimed at, what else, destabilization.

BARMM Chief Minister Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim and BARMM Spokesperson and Interior Minister Naguib G. Sinarimbo. (Photo: SDN — SciTech and Digital News)

Let’s hear it from the spokesperson of the Bangsamoro government, lawyer Naguib G. Sinarimbo. He heads the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG), one of the primary agencies of the BARMM.

His statement follows in full: 

We have been receiving reports of people allegedly evacuating and leaving the city several days now. We are also seeing posts by anti-Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) people spreading rumors that the city will be attacked by the ISIS, BIFF and MILF. (Islamic State, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Moro Islamic Liberation Front)

1. There is no truth that the ISIS, BIFF and the MILF will combine forces to attack the city. The BIFF is a splinter group that disagreed with the peace track of the MILF after the failed signing of the MOA AD (Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain in July 2008). The ISIS local group is a splinter group of the original BIFF. There is no way the three can combine forces as they have fundamental differences that remained unresolve until today.

2. The MILF already fought the ISIS local group several times in the Liguasan Marsh, the latest being in the marshes near Datu Piang where 23 MILF forces were killed in 2016 in the final push to drive out the ISIS local under Turaipi.

3. Cotabato City is protected by the military as well as by the MILF forces. In fact, the MILF forces around the city that protected it from the entry of ISIS upon the request of the local officials of the city at the height of the Marawi Siege are still positioned in the strategic entry points of the city.

4. It is farfetched that the MILF will attack the city at a time when it is about to achieve the political arrangements pursuant to an agreement that it entered with the government.

5. It is a fact that the MILF has always spared the city even in its major wars with the government like 2000 Camp Abubakar, 2003 Buliok Complex war, and 2008 MOA-AD debacle.

6. Many of the families of the senior leadership of the MILF are natives of Cotabato and have lived in the city for generations.

What is obvious is that there are desperate people out to thwart the will of the people and are doing everything to frustrate the implementation of a peace agreement (2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro or CAB). By spreading rumors, they hope to discourage people from participating in democratic assemblies that clearly manifests the popular support of people to the implementation of a peace agreement. In addition, they hope that people will evacuate and temporarily leave the city so that they can resort to the usual practice of controlling the polling places and directing their goons to simply fill-in the ballots and other election returns according to their wishes and thereby effectively thwarting the democratic will of the people.

In the face of these challenges, we call on everyone to remain steadfast and to never give up or give in to the evil machinations of these cheaters. The time to shape our future is now. The time to contribute to peace and prosperity is here. Let us be active participants in shaping our destiny. Let us be counted. (/)

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