KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 13 Jan) — “Peace is life. No peace, no life. Peace to everyone,” Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) wrote on the ‘peace wall’ of Museyo Kutawato on Saturday, January 12.
North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza toured Ebrahim and Presiential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez inside the museum, which features the history of the then Cotabato empire.
Murad was ecstatic after earning the assurance from the local government officials for their full support to the ratification of RA 11054 or the Organic Act for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The tour concluded the half-day gathering at the provincial gym where some 5,000 Moro residents joined local government officials in manifesting their support.
Like Murad, Galvez, Undersecretary Nabil Tan and other Bangsamoro Transition Commission officials also left a note on a piece of cardboard posted on the ‘peace wall.’
During the gathering, the governor expressed a full support for the ratification of the BOL as she urged constituents of seven towns to vote ‘yes’ in the coming plebiscite on February 6.
The seven towns are Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Matalam, Midsayap, Pigcawayan, Pikit and Tulunan.
Mendoza, who hails from Carmen, called on her constituents to support the ratification of the law as it will help pave the way for genuine and lasting peace not just in the province but as well as in the entire region.
Murad, who was the last to speak in the jampacked gymnasium, thanked the provincial government for its overwhelming support to the Bangsamoro.
He recalled the harmonious relationship of Christians and Muslims in the village he grew up in.
Even in Darapanan, where the MILF camp is, Murad recalled the harmonious relationship.
“This law is not only for the Bangsamoro people but for all,” he said.
Pigcawayan Mayor Eliseo Garcesa Jr. also told the crowd that since the fighting is over, it’s time to unite for a common cause to address the roots of the conflict.
In a separate statement, former Aleosan town Mayor Loreto Cabaya Jr., also called on his townmates to give what is due to the Muslim communities saying: “Ako ay sumusuporta sa pag ratipika ng BOL dahil hatid nito ay kapayapaan at magbibigay pagkakataon sa ating mga kapatid na Moro upang pamahalaan at pagsilbihan ang Bangsamoro.”
When Cabaya was still a mayor in 2008, it was also in Aleosan where then MILF commander Amiril Umra Kato attacked civilian communities following the aborted signing of the controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD).
The fighting escalated in different towns of Central Mindanao and led to the evacuation of at least 600, 000 residents.
On January 21, a plebiscite will be conducted in the provinces Maguindanao, Lanao del Sr, Sulu, Tawi-tawi and the cities of Cotabato and Isabela.
On February 6, the plebiscite will be held in the six towns of Lanao del Norte and in North Cotabato’s Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Matalam, Midsayap, Pigcawayan, Pikit and Tulunan.
“Panahon na para tuldukan ang paghihirap ng mga bata kababaihan at matatanda sa kaguluhan. Ang BOL ang magbibigay daan sa tunay na kapayapaan sa Probinsya ng Cotabato” (It is time to put an end to the sufferings of the children, women and the elderly due to the conflict. The Bangsamoro law will pave the way for genuine peace in the provine of Cotabato), Mendoza said. (MindaNews)