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Duterte meets with Ebrahim in Davao City

President briefed on the Bangsamoro government’s significant accomplishments

 November 25, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte met with Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim and other officials of the interim Bangsamoro government in Davao City on Monday.According to the official Bangsamoro government Facebook page, Murad briefed Duterte… Read More

SAP GO: BOL signals start of peace in Mindanao

Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed hope that the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) will signal the start of lasting peace in Mindanao.

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Go made this remark during the ceremonial signing of the BOL on Monday at the Malacañang Palace in the presence of several lawmakers and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

The BOL was signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on July 27, 2018, days after it was ratified by the Senate and House of Representatives.

Ang pagpirma ni Pangulong Duterte sa BOL ay nagsisilbing pagsisimula ng katapusan ng kaguluhan at paghihirap sa Mindanao. Ibig sabihin, dito po natin makikita na kung may political will ang president, walang impo-imposible (President Duterte’s signing of the BOL signals the end of war and misery in Mindanao. This means nothing is impossible with a president who has political will),” Go said.

He encouraged all Filipinos to take part in the next steps that the Bangsamoro Organic Law will face.

Under the new law, a plebiscite will be held in the Bangsamoro between 90 and 150 days after its effectivity.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) earlier expressed support for Go’s senatorial bid and thanked  President Duterte’s top aide  for his help in facilitating in Congress and the Office of the President the process of approving BOL formerly named Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

bong go jaafar

MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT BACK BONG GO FOR SENATOR

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BY ROGER M. BALANZA

“He deeply understands the problems of the Bangsamoro people and the importance of addressing them to ensure just and dignified peace in Mindanao. He is profoundly aware of what is needed for the attainment of the socio-economic prosperity of the country.”

For this, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front )MILF) is supporting the senatorial bid of Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Lawrence Christopher “Bong” Go in the 2019 mid-term elections..

The MILF is at the homestretch of signing a final peace agreement with the Philippine government.

BANGSAMORO

President Rodrigo Duterte has formed the MILF-led Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), that would create a new Bangsamoro homeland in Mindanao. 

Ghazali Jaafar, MILF First vice chairman and BTC chairman, in a statement of support for SAP Go’s run for the Senate, said SAP Go served as facilitator between the BTC and President Duterte and government agencies.

Through SAP Go, the BTC was able to expedite the legislative process of the BBL in the Senate and the House of Representatives, said Jaafar.

With his significant contribution, the BTC leadership believes that SAP Go deserves to be endorsed and supported in the coming 2019 senatorial race, said the MILF leader.

As Senator, we believe that SAP Go can contribute more to our shared goal to ensure the success of the future Bangsamoro government and ultimately achieve lasting peace and prosperity in Mindanao, said Jaafar.

milf

GO FOR SENATOR

No definite timeline for BBL passage, says Senator Marcos


By Charlie V. Monforte

Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has no definite timeline for a new “substitute version” of the Bangsamoro Basic Law that he wanted to pass in the Senate.

He is not even sure if the new version will be approved during the remaining time of the Aquino administration particularly before the May 9, 2016 election.

In a press conference Saturday at Park Inn Hotel in Davao City, the senator told reporters that he could “only tell the sequence” of legislating a new BBL version.

“I can’t say how long it will take, how long the discussions will be among senators and congressmen in Congress,” he said.

He added that he could have finish his committee’s report.

“If you know other groups that have not been consulted, tell me, the more info, the better,” he told reporters.

He said his committee has already conducted six committee hearings, adding that the hearings are finished but the discussions will still take a long time.

He reiterated his criticism to the way the BBL was made with the government panel “talking only with the MILF” and without considering the other sectors.

“Wala ang Christians, wala ang military, ang police, at iba pa, bibigyan natin ng panahon para makapagsalita ang ibang stakeholders (No Christians, there were no military, the police and others, we will give time for other stakeholders to talk,” he said.

He added that Congress will also consider those “within and around Bangsamoro” like the surrounding provinces and local government units.

He said that in formulating his substitute BBL he will focus on four major subjects, which are on: constitutionality, power sharing, economic provisions and administration.”

“The four major subjects are all important and need lengthy discussions, each provision having big effects,” he said.

It appears now there is yet a long way to go before the new, consolidated BBL version will see final passage in Congress even as Moro and peace groups have already started to criticize and oppose the emerging new BBL versions in Congress.

Marcos’ substitute BBL version once it is passed by his committee will then go to the plenary but there is also a Lower House version which would meet with Senate version which would then result into bicameral report and consolidated version before it will be taken up in plenary. (PNA)

All is set for MILF decommissioning in Maguindanao

All is set for the historic decommissioning of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) firearms as the first phase of the decommissioning program which aims to put the arms and forces of the rebel group beyond use kicks off Tuesday , Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said Monday.
Speaking over the Church-run Radio here, Ferrer said the decommissioning is part of the agreement of both the government and the MILF contained under the Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
”All is set, President Aquino will witness the historic and vital part of the Mindanao peace process,” Ferrer said.
To be held at the old provincial capitol compound in Barangay Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao province, the simple ceremonies dubbed “Ceremonial Turnover of Weapons and Decommissioning of the MILF Combatants” to be held at the old provincial capitol in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, will once again prove the MILF’s sincerity in the peace process even as the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law hit a snag at the country’s legislature.
Ferrer said the MILF fighters will undertake the registration and turning-in of 75 weapons to the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB).
Turkey’s former ambassador to NATO, Haydar Berk heads the IDB with members Jan Erik Wilhemsen from Norway, Maj. Muhammad Aiman Syazwi Bin Haji Abdul Rahim from Brunei, and local experts, AFP ret. Lt. Gen. Rey Ardor, Dr. Mario Aguja, MILF spokesperson Von Al-Haq and Janati Mimbantas.
Under the mechanics of the decommissioning as agreed upon by both sides, 145 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) will register and processed to formally return to civilian lives.
According to Ferrer, prior to Tuesday’s formal decommissioning, members of the International Decommissioning Body (IDB) have inspected and conducted ocular inspection of the serviceability of the guns.
”The IDB has reported the guns appeared to be good and working but the final determination whether these guns still works will happen tomorrow,” Ferrer said.
”It was one of the most difficult decisions on the part of the MILF combatants,” Mohaqher Iqbal, MILF chief negotiator, said. “A sacrifice for the sake of peace, for the sake of having real peace in Mindanao,” he added.
Aside from President Aquino, Ferrer said expected to attend are House and Senate members, Peace Adviser Sec. Teresita Deles and MILF chieftain Murad Ebrahim, representatives from the international community helping in the Mindanao peace process and local officials.
“This is just the beginning of the whole process of normalization, the decommissioning is the first important step,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer added that after the decommissioning process, the decommissioned guns will be kept will be brought to an agreed area, the Weapons Storage facility located inside Camp Iranun (Abubakar) in Sitio Bombaran, Barangay Tugaig in Barira, Maguindanao.
Camp Iranun, now home of the 603rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine military, used to be the biggest MILF homebase – Camp Abubakar, which fell to government hands in the 200 all out war waged by former President Joseph Estrada.
About 30 members of the Joint Peace and Security Teams (JPST) who will be supervised by the Joint Verification and Monitoring Team (JVMT) of the IDB will be backed by close circuit TV cameras.
”The idea is to put these weapons beyond use, that is what this thing all about,” she said.
Ferrer said aside from international representatives, 15 members from the Philippine military and police and equal number of representatives from the MILF will compose the JVMT.
President Aquino is expected to arrive at about noon. (PNA)

DUTERTE ON DAVAO BOMBINGS: IQBAL ABSOLVED BY AMNESTY

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

Amnesty had put closure to charges of mass murder filed against top leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in connection with the deadly 2003 twin bombings in Davao City that killed 39 people and injured 199 others.

This is the response of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to a Senator who said that among the accused in the carnage, Mohagher Iqbal, is the chief negotiator of a Moro group talking peace with the government.

SAD RITUAL. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte offers flowers and lights candles at the 2003 site of bombings, in what has become a yearly ritual to commemorate the carnage that killed dozens of people and wounded nearly 200.
SAD RITUAL. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte offers flowers and lights candles at the 2003 site of bombings, in what has become a yearly ritual to commemorate the carnage that killed dozens of people and wounded nearly 200.

The bloody bombing of the Davao International Airport in March that killed 22 and wounded 43 and the Sasa Wharf a month later wherein 22 were killed and 143 injured has resurfaced as legislators probe the January killing of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in Mamasapano in Maguindanao.

 The MILF and the renegade Moro group the Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and a private armed group were blamed for the massacre of the troopers who were on a mission to arrest two Moro terrorists.

The Mamasapano carnage happened as Congress is deliberating on a law that would create a Bangsamoro juridical entity in Mindanao. The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is a product of many years of negotiation between the Philippine government and the MILF.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said the MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal was involved in the Davao twin bombings.

But Duterte said that members of rebel groups like the MILF usually commit crimes while fighting with the government. He said that the government usually gives amnesty to rebels, clearing them of the crimes they committed in the past.

Iqbal was among top leaders of the MILF who were charged in the Davao bombings.

Amnesty was a precondition in the peace negotiation between the government and the MILF.

The Mamasapano carnage has darkened the cloud for the BBL that would galvanize a final peace agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF. Pending approval in Congress, the BBL is seen as the ultimate solution to the Moro problem in Mindanao which in more than four decades of violence has killed an estimated  200,000 people.

Cayetano has expressed doubt over the sincerity of the MILF to strike a final peace deal, and is the most vocal senator who assailed the MILF following the killing of 44 SAF commandos.

The Mamasapano massacre has sparked national outrage and public sentiment against approving the BBL. Congress and other government bodies are investigating the carnage.

Cayetano’s mistrust at the MILF has been further sparked by Iqbal’s use of an alias in his official dealings with the Philippine government as peace negotiator of the MILF.

Cayetano said that Iqbal’s real name is Datucan Abas. A court document, Cayetano said, has ordered the arrest of a  “Datucan Abas/Mohagher Iqbal” for involvement in the Davao bombings. The person named in the document is Iqbal, he said.

Duterte said there was nothing wrong in Iqbal using a fictitious name while talking peace with the government. He said Iqbal’s identity is already established.

Duterte said that being revolutionaries, it is common for a rebel to use a ‘nom de guerre.’