TUBOD, Lanao del Norte (MindaNews / 11 March) – The Provincial Peace and Order Council of Lanao del Norte unanimously passed Wednesday a resolution expressing support to the House bill introduced and sponsored by First District Rep. Mohammad Khalid Quibranza-Dimaporo and supported by Second District Rep. Abdullah Dimakuta Dimaporo.
House Bill No. 8222 seeks to amend Section 13 , Article 16 of Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to allow the first regular election for the Bangsamoro Parliament to be synchronized with the 2028 elections.
Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo said “the resolution recently approved and passed doesn’t mean we are already part of the BARMM. We are giving our support for the extension of BTA (Bangsamoro Transition Authority) for the sake of peace.”
Lanao del Norte, as a whole, voted against the proposal to include six Moro-dominated towns of the province in the BARMM. The “yes” vote won in those areas.
The council also adopted a resolution introduced by Mayor Marcos Mamai of Nunungan town asking President Duterte to certify as urgent HB 8222, as the 2022 election is fast approaching.
Bangsamoro Parliament Member Abdullah Macapaar a.k.a. Commander Bravo of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said they were only seeking an extension until 2025, but Rep. Dimaporo did more by proposing a longer timeframe.
Macapaar, who figured in a raid on Kauswagan and Kolambugan towns in Lanao del Norte in 2008, after the Supreme Court junked the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between the government and the MILF, said he accepted the invitation to the meeting not as Commander Bravo but as “a partner in peace and development.”
“We are asking the MILF to surrender their firearms, but truly, if I am an MILF, I will not surrender my firearms if I have not yet gotten what I was willing to die for,” Rep. Dimaporo said.
“In order for them to surrender their firearms, they must finish their plans on how to get what they want for the Muslim provinces. When they accomplish fully the plan approved by our President, then they will surrender their firearms because they are now sure what they want can be implemented by the agreement,” he added.
The Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro provides for the decommissioning (not surrender) of MILF fighters and their firearms in stages, depending on the progress in the implementation of the peace pact.
The initial decommissioning happened in June 2015, and witnessed by then president Benigno S. Aquino III.
The second decommissioning took place in September 2019, an event attended by Duterte.
All the decommissioned firearms, as provided in the peace deal, were turned over to a foreign-led Independent Decommissioning Body.
On Saturday, March 13, a caravan and motorcade for peace will start in Marawi City and pass Brgy. Maria Critina in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, and towns around Lake Lanao in Lanao del Sur.
In a phone interview Wednesday evening, Bangsamoro Parliament Member Marjanie Sallic Mimbantas Macasalong, chair of the Bangsamoro Youth Commission said they expect some 3,000 vehicles and around 10,000 supporters to join the caravan.
“We have to control the passengers, maximum of four per four-wheel vehicle, to adhere to standard health protocols like social distancing and wearing of face masks and face shields,” Macasalong said.
Colonel Rey Alemania, commander of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade said they will escort the caravan until the boundary of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. (Richel V. Umel/MindaNews)