Marcos admin committed to fulfilling Bangsamoro peace deal

By Azer Parrocha and Priam Nepomuceno

March 27, 2023, 11:28 am Updated on March 27, 2023, 7:46 pm

<p>President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. <em>(PNA photo by Alfred Frias)</em></p>

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (PNA photo by Alfred Frias)

MANILA – The administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is committed to fulfilling all agreements under the Bangsamoro peace process.

"Under the Marcos Administration’s banner of unity, the national government is determined more than ever to fulfill the commitments it had made under all signed Bangsamoro peace agreements. It shall not waver from this commitment," OPAPRU acting chief Secretary Isidro L. Purisima said in a statement for the observance of the ninth anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) on Monday.

He also added that OPAPRU "shall ensure" to push forward, sustain and build on the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process.

Purisima also said this would be the key to building a better, brighter and more progressive future for the Bangsamoro people.

"As we commemorate the 9th Anniversary CAB’s signing, let us remember what has brought all of us to this moment — our willingness to let go of the past, go beyond our differences, and walk shoulder to shoulder in the name of peace," he added.

Purisima also said the signing of the CAB put an end to decades of armed conflict between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

He added the occasion was historic not only for the Bangsamoro people but the Filipino nation as a whole as the weapons of war fell silent.

"And residents who used to wake up to the sound of mortar fire would start hearing the hum of bulldozers, trucks and farming equipment," the OPAPRU chief recounted.

"From the grounds of Malacañang where the CAB was forged, to the sprawling flatlands of Central Mindanao and the island provinces which used to be the site of fierce gun battles, our people rejoiced because they knew in their hearts that a new chapter in the nation’s history was dawning," Purisima stressed.

‘Gov’t shall not waver’

In his video message uploaded on his official Facebook page, Marcos assured that his administration will not “waver” on its commitment to fulfilling all agreements under the Bangsamoro peace process.

“We in the national government will do our part to fulfill our commitments under the peace agreements and see its full implementation. We shall not waver from this,” Marcos said.

Marcos described the celebration as “a testament to the firm commitment of our government and people to sustain and build on the gains of peace in the Bangsamoro.”

“For nine years the peace pact has stood firm and the Bangsamoro people have thrived and flourished. We shall ensure that they continue to do so,” he said.

Under his administration, he said the political and normalization tracks of the peace agreement “continue to gain momentum.”

He added that partners in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) continue to deliver on their commitments in both tracks with the recent passing of the critical Bangsamoro Electoral Code.

Marcos acknowledged that there is still much to be done as part of efforts to ensure long-lasting peace in the Bangsamoro region, but expressed optimism that the government’s ongoing efforts would pay off.

“As we have said before, the path to lasting peace is always under construction... but we shall build and walk this path together so that our children and the generations more that will follow shall live lives of prosperity and peace,” the President said.

“Ang kapayapaang ito na ating itinataguyod ay hindi lang para sa Bangsamoro... ito ay para sa Bagong Pilipinas - Mapayapa, Masagana, Nagkakaisa (This peace that we are promoting is not just for the Bangsamoro... it is for a new Philippines - Peaceful, Prosperous, United),” he added. 

Testament of sincerity

Purisima said the CAB is a document like no other because it embodies the dreams, hopes and aspirations of the Bangsamoro people who, for almost 30 years, fought for the right to self-determination and self-governance.

"Moreover, the agreement is also a testament of the sincerity, commitment and determination of both parties – the GPH and MILF – to seek a common ground and agree to work together to ensure the welfare of the Bangsamoro people," the OPAPRU chief pointed out.

He also said CAB paved the way for the passage of the Bangsamoro Organization Law (BOL), which operationalized the CAB, and the establishment of the BARMM and its regional government.

"However, what is most remarkable about the CAB is that it has given rise to a different breed of servant-leaders. Once considered military tacticians and grizzled fighters, they have now taken on a new mantle, and that is, of dedicated public servants," Purisima emphasized.

And under the able leadership of BARMM Chief Minister Balwag Ebrahim Murad, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) is demonstrating that the MILF is more than capable of handling the reins of governance, he added.

"They have now become agents of peace and development," the OPAPRU chief noted.

He also said the BTA’s Parliament has passed crucial legislation that is now uplifting the lives of its people, and transforming once conflict-ridden and conflict-vulnerable areas in the region into show windows of peace and development.

"The National Government, in partnership with the BARMM Government is also implementing the Normalization Program under the CAB, which is helping former MILF combatants make the successful transition as peaceful and productive members of society," Purisima pointed out.

He added that the dividends of peace are now also being felt by the families of MILF members as well as their communities, as socio-economic interventions are continuously being provided to them through the various joint GPH-MILF peace mechanisms. (PNA)