MANILA – President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has called on the military to support the peace process in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Marcos made the call during his visit to Camp Siongco in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao on Thursday, as he stressed the "change" in the mission and roles of the state forces to ensure "lasting peace and progress" in the Bangsamoro region.
"‘Yun ang role palagay ko is (I think the role of) the military is to support the peace, that is the peace process, that is what the peace process is now, and that is what we need to continue to support," Marcos said before the 6th Infantry Division troops. "I bring this up to you to explain that perhaps the mission of – not only the political leadership but also the mission of the military here is going to change. And that will be because I am hoping that we can look forward to a period of lasting peace and progress."
The President visited the military camp in Maguindanao on the same day he attended the ceremonial opening of the session of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament in Cotabato City.
Marcos enjoined the soldiers to provide support and assistance to the BTA to sustain peace and development in the BARMM.
Serving as "peacemakers", the government troops should seek peace in the Bangsamoro region, he said.
"Dapat matigil na ang putukan para naman mapaganda natin ang southern Philippines at ang Mindanao doon sa tinatawag na dating conflict areas (The armed conflict must end so we could develop the southern Philippines and the conflict areas in Mindanao)," Marcos said.
He issued the statement as he told the military to give the BTA the opportunity to adapt to their role as the governing body of BARMM.
"If we are able to do that, we are able to support. Kung dati natin silang nilalabanan (We were fighting before, but now) they are still learning how to become a government. And we must give them a chance to learn how to become a government. We should help them," Marcos said. "Tayo ay magtulungan at tulungan natin sila, para (Let's help each other) so that the functions of government will become ordinary in BARMM."
Stay vigilant, careful
Despite his latest directive, Marcos reminded the soldiers not to let their guard down.
This, as he acknowledged that there are still extremist groups "without ideology."
"They don’t talk of the religion, of ideology. Basta’t nagki-kidnap na lang, gumagawa na lang ng gulo, murder for hire, ‘yung mga ganyan. ‘Yun, nandiyan pa rin ang threat sa inyo diyan (They are just there to sow chaos, kidnap, and be involved in murder for hire. The threat remains). Kaya’t (So), you cannot let your guard down also. You have to stay vigilant and stay careful," he said.
Marcos said the troops should avoid waging war, unless necessary.
"I’m very happy that I had this opportunity on this historic day to be with you and I know that you will all keep up the good work that we know, you have been doing, and you keep up the good work," Marcos said.
Also on Thursday, Marcos urged the BTA to pass priority legislative measures aimed at bringing peace to BARMM. (PNA)