ARMM Governor calls for “collective efforts” to achieve peace and development

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 August) Achieving peace and development for a better future for the homeland requires “collective efforts” to conquer the  challenges confronting the Moro, Governor Mujv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said in a message Friday in celebration of Eid’l Fitr, the end of the month-long Ramadan.

“The challenge of an enduring peace and development continues to confront us Moros. No less than our collective effort is required to conquer this challenge and secure that promise and hope of a better future for our homeland- Mindanao. The lessons of Ramadan and the spirit of the Eid will always be our inspiration,” he said.

The ARMM provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur,  and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan are among the poorest and conflict-ridden areas in the country.

For decades, Moro revolutionaries have struggled for independence, later demanding “genuine autonomy.”  The government and the Moro National Liberation Front signed the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement. The MNLF ruled the ARMM from 1996 to 2005 —  MNLF chair Nur Misuari from September 30, 1996 until his arrest off Sabah, Malaysia in late November 2001. MNLF Foreign Affairs chair Parouk Hussin was elected governor and served from January 2002 to September 30, 2005.

The MNLF has been complaining that the law supposedly amending RA 6734, the Organic Act creating the ARMM, watered down the provisions of the 1996 peace agreement, rendering it “less autonomous” than it was before the amendment.

A month before the September 2, 1996 signing of the Final Peace Agreement, then Executive Secretary Ruben Torres met in Cagayan de Oro City with Ghazali Jaafar, Vice Chair for Political Affairs of the then bigger Moro armed group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, paving the way for the peace talks to begin in 1997.

Three major wars later – 2000, 2003 and 2008 — the government and MILF signed a Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro on October 15, 2012,  where both parties said “the status quo” in the relations between the Philippine government and the Bangsamoro, “is unacceptable” and that they would work for the creation of a new autonomous political entity dubbed the “Bangsamoro” by June 30, 2016.

The ARMM will be deemed abolished once the Bangsamoro Basic Law which the President wants passed by Congress before end of 2014,  will be ratified and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority takes over to govern the area in a ministerial form of government prior to the election on May 9, 2013 of the first set of officials of the Bangsamoro government.

“Today we join family and friends to celebrate the Eid’l Fitr, the devotions and the sacrifices we hurdled in the course of a month,” he said, adding that Ramadan “exacts the most trying test of faith to us Muslims as we strive to let our spirit conquer earthly desires and guard ourselves against the smallest of temptations. Each time, we emerge as better individuals, selfless and more sensible. “

He said their  actions and dispositions in the days ahead would be the embodiment of these gains, “the real test of what the past and coming Ramadans mean to us.”

He urged his fellow Muslism to “put to practice  what we have achieved in mind, in body and in character.”

“Our personal development must translate to the improvement of our society and not limited to ourselves and our immediate environs,” he said. (MindaNews)