COTABATO CITY – Officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have welcomed the full support to the peace process expressed by President Ferdinand. R. Marcos Jr. in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
In a statement Tuesday, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim applauded President Marcos' commitment "to bring genuine autonomy and progress to our homeland."
"The president’s call for granting amnesty is a testament to his strong and resolute desire of finding lasting peace and justice," Ebrahim said.
He said the BARMM leadership looks forward "to working together with all sectors concerned in sustaining the positive and inclusive developments that we have made so far in this crucial transition period."
Andrew Alonto, BARMM Bureau of Public Information (BIO) director, said regional officials were in high spirits listening to the President’s SONA. “We are exultantly proud that the welfare of the Bangsamoro is a priority of the President and that it was mentioned in his 2nd SONA,” Alonto said in a statement Tuesday.
“We are one with the President in welcoming the Bagong Pilipinas. In the ‘Bagong Pilipinas,’ we share his vision of Bangsamoro that is self-governing, progressive, and effective,” he added.
“God willing, through the continuous partnership and support of all concerned sectors, we will fully realize our dreams and aspirations,” Alonto said.
In his SONA, the President cited and lauded the progress made in BARMM.
“We are proud of the progress that the BARMM has taken. It will be self-governing, progressive, and effective,” the President said.
“This was made possible only because of the cooperation of all key groups. The local government, the royal families, the MNLF, and the MILF were all consulted and represented in the transition phase,” he added.
Marcos also reiterated his administration’s determination to push for the completion of reintegration programs to guarantee the full decommissioning of former combatants.
To complete this reintegration process, the President said he will issue a Proclamation granting amnesty to rebel returnees, "and I ask Congress to support me in this endeavor.”
A new proclamation is needed to extend the application process of the amnesty program, which lapsed in January this year. The previous proclamations were issued during the time of former President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
BARMM Parliament Member Bailing Mantawil welcomed the President’s promise to issue another presidential proclamation.
“We are very happy, very grateful because it is the President speaking, our hopes remain high,” Mantawil said during an interview over a local radio program.
Lawyer Jamar Kulayan, National Amnesty Commission (NAC) commissioner, also welcomed the President’s statement on the amnesty program.
In appreciation, Kulayan quoted a statement from fellow NAC commissioner Nasser Marohomsalic saying that “the amnesty is the crowning glory of the peace process.”
“Without amnesty, we could not expect to achieve peace, unity, and reconciliation,” he said. (PNA)