Misuari loyalists in Region 12 back proposed Bangsamoro region

Stakeholders in Region 12 join the Bangsamoro Visioning Exercise held in General Santos City on November 1 to 2, 2018. MindaNews photo by BONG SARMIENTOb

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 27 November)—With less than two weeks before the campaign period for its ratification, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members in Region 12 loyal to founding chair Nur Misuari threw their support to the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OLBARMM).

Ustadz Pendi Colano, chair of the MNLF’s Selatan Kutawato State Revolutionary Committee, urged the fragmented MNLF to support the law, which is anchored on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The campaign period is set on December 7 to January 19 for the January 21 plebiscite to ratify Republic Act 11054 or the OLBARMM, the Commission on Elections earlier said.

Colano expressed support to the law even if Misuari has not made public his stand on the measure that will create the BARMM and abolish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The MNLF Council of 15 faction has expressed support to the creation of the new Bangsamoro region. MindaNews, however, could not reach the MNLF Islamic Command Council, chaired by Habib Mudjahab Hashim, for its stand.

Misuari, who met President Rodrigo Duterte weeks after the signing of the law, signed a final peace deal with the Philippine government on September 2, 1996. He was shortly elected as ARMM’s third governor until 2001.

“Nothing will happen to the Bangsamoro people if we won’t have unity…Let us all support the ratification of the BOL (Bangsamoro Organic Law),” Colano told participants attending the recent Bangsamoro Visioning Exercise here.

Addressing about 100 Bangsamoro stakeholders from Region 12 gathered here with the support of the United Nations Development Program, Colano said the MILF and the MNLF should join hands to ensure the ratification of the law.

“I’m a diehard supporter of Nur (Misuari) and have fought for the longest time for the sake of the Moro people. My dream will be realized if the BOL is ratified. Let us all rally behind it,” he said in Filipino.

Rasul Ismael, assistant secretary at ARMM’s Department of the Interior and Local Government, expressed confidence the law will hurdle the petition at the Supreme Court filed by Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan II.

Ismael, a member of Insider Mediators, a discussion group comprising members from the MILF and MNLF, academe and civil society organizations, said that both houses of Congress had ensured during the deliberations that the Bangsamoro law is compliant with the Constitution.

“The BOL is our last card,” said Ismael, apparently referring to the Bangsamoro people’s aspiration for genuine self-determination.

He said the consultations of Bangsamoro stakeholders outside the proposed core territory had the blessings of MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, who wanted the new political entity to become successful.

Citing “reliable information,” Ismael said the MILF-led interim Bangsamoro parliament, who shall be appointed by President Duterte, might start performing their duties by February 1, or less than two weeks after the plebiscite.

The MILF’s central committee earlier pushed Murad to become the chief minister. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)