CAB signing start of much more challenges – Hataman

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 27 March) – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman hailed Thursday the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), but cautioned that much needs to be done as there are still many challenges lying ahead for the envisioned Bangsamoro region.

“Today is the culmination of years of intensive peace talks and marks a new beginning for us, a historic deal that will chart the future of the Moro people. We are grateful to President Benigno Aquino III ‘for showing real political courage’ in moving the peace process forward,” Hataman said in a statement.

“The peace agreement should help heal the historical injustices of the past as it gives way for a political setup that will allow the Moro people to exercise self-governance and contribute to the growth and prosperity of this nation,” he added.

Hataman said that a week ago, they commemorated the Jabidah massacre, which according to him, was “the turning point in the Bangsamoro struggle…the tragedy that united the Moro people, regardless of background and affiliation.”

“We put premium on history and the narratives of our ancestors who fought and shed blood for the cause of their people. While we try to look back to remind our people of our cause, we are moving forward to build a brighter future for our homeland and for this nation,” he said.

Hataman said that for more than two years now, the ARMM government “was able to set a new horizon for the Bangsamoro people, one that does not fail, one that holds the aspiration of its people for a genuine self-rule.”

As the progress of reforming ARMM as an institution continues, the ARMM government remains true to its commitment that this effort is an integral part in laying down the foundation for the new Bangsamoro entity, he said.

“Much remains to be done. The Comprehensive Agreement heralds a new challenge to the Bangsamoro, a new struggle that we must face as one,” Hataman said

In a statement, Amina Rasul, president of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID), also hailed the signing of the CAB in Malacañang, which was witnessed by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

“After over 17 years of the peace process between the government and the MILF, sustainable peace seems to be within reach and with it, the transformation of Bangsamoro and Mindanao dreams to reality,” she said.

“We at PCID believe that this agreement, if realized, will provide a strong foundation for prosperity and inclusive growth, not just for the Bangsamoro but for all peoples of Mindanao and the entire country as well,” Rasul said.