By Carolyn O. Arguillas
First of three parts
DAVAO City — It was a “very historic conference,” the representative of the Canadian Embassy said as the chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) briefed international development partners, among them six Ambassadors, on the future Bangsamoro government, and presented a 10-point priority program to meet the “huge challenges” in their transition from rebellion to governance and from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm).
The “Conversation between Moro Islamic Liberation Front chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and Development Partners,” held at the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel here, last Thursday came three months ahead of the Jan. 21, 2019 plebiscite to ratify RA 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. RA 11054 is the enabling law of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the peace agreement that government and the MILF signed on March 27, 2014.
Murad said the plebiscite, which he described as the “one final hurdle” towards the establishment of the Bangsamoro government, will “make or unmake our decades of negotiations as well as peacemaking.”
In his 27-minute speech, Murad, the MILF’s nominee to be Chief Minister under the MILF-led, 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) that would be appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to govern the Bangsamoro during the transition from 2019 to 2022, presented to the audience of development partners from 11 countries, as well as from the United Nations, European Union and the World Bank what Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza described as the “State of the Barmm Address.”
“I just heard what is equivalent to a State of the Nation address delivered by the President of the nation, now we call it the State of the Barmm Address because it dissects clearly the expectations, the challenges and the areas where we have to work very closely,” said Dureza, who sat at the Presidential table beside Murad and UN Resident Coordinator Ola Almgren, who convened the meeting.