Sulu governor-elect Tan blinks, vows support for BARMM

File photo shows a policeman guarding ballot boxes during the plebiscite to ratify the Bangsamoro law in Buluan, Maguindanao on January 21, 2019. BONG SARMIENTO

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/21 June) — Changing his stance, Sulu governor-elect Abdusakur Tan now pledged to support the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), noting the “people have spoken.”

Since nandirito na, hindi pwede na hindi namin suportahan kasi (Since it is here already, it is not right for us not to support it because) we will suffer. We cannot afford to suffer for the next three years, six years or nine years,” said Tan, a come-backing governor of Sulu who headed the province from 2007 to 2013.

Tan, who ran but lost in the 2016 gubernatorial race in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and over a hundred others graced the orientation and training seminar for newly-elected local chief executives in the BARMM in Cotabato City on June 16 to17.

The BARMM replaced the ARMM following the plebiscites early this year that resulted in the overwhelming ratification of Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, popularly called the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

The BOL is anchored on the final peace agreement signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014 after four decades of conflict that claimed over 120,000 lives, including civilians.

Only Sulu rejected the ratification of the BOL. The other ARMM provinces—Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan (except Isabela City) and Tawi-tawi—voted in favor of the BOL, as well as Cotabato City, the seat of the then ARMM and now the BARMM regional government.

But Sulu could not opt out of the new Bangsamoro region because its votes were counted along with the other provinces that comprised the ARMM, which overwhelmingly resulted in favor of BOL’s ratification.

The Tans campaigned heavily for the rejection of BOL in Sulu, one of the poorest provinces in the country.

A few months before the plebiscite, Gov. Abdusakur Tan II, Tan’s son and Sulu’s incoming vice governor, questioned before the Supreme Court the legality of the BOL.

The high tribunal has yet to decide on the case.

In an interview with a regional television network, the elder Tan assured they would abide with the decision of the Supreme Court.

Tan said that incoming Sulu public officials graced the orientation for new local chief executives because they want to know the programs of the Bangsamoro government.

The winners in the May 13 elections will assume office on June 30.

BARMM interim Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim welcomed Tan’s support to the new Bangsamoro government.

“I’m very happy that the (incoming Sulu) governor expressed his willingness to cooperate and willingness to be a partner (of the Bangsamoro government,” said Ebrahim, popularly known as MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim.

Ebrahim stressed the need for unity and collaboration among local officials to meet the Bangsamoro people’s high expectations in the new BARMM government.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, BARMM Minister for Local Government, said they organized the orientation and training seminar for incoming local chief executives in the BARMM to rally their support and for them to adopt “moral governance” as a tool to improve the plight of the impoverished Bangsamoro region. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)