MANILA, Sept 17 (Mabuhay) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s support for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is certain to bring lasting peace.

(MNS file photo)

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said Friday that the inauguration of the new Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) is historic for having Moro National Liberation Front Founder Nur Misuari, who shook hands with BARMM Chief Minister and Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chairperson Murad Ebrahim.

“Bilang (As a) Mindanaoan at bilang (and as the) principal sponsor and author of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, masaya po ako sa pagbibigay ni (I am happy with) President Bongbong Marcos’ support and commitment sa patuloy na pagpapaunlad ng (in the continuing development of) BARMM,” Zubiri said in a social media post.

“Talagang (This is really a) sign po ito na nagiging (that shows) successful ang peace and unity efforts sa (in) Mindanao. And I really hope that with the support of the administration and of course us in the Senate and the House, we will finally achieve just and lasting peace for our people,” he added.

(MNS file photo)

Marcos led the inauguration at the BARMM Compound in Cotabato City on Thursday, with the new BTA serving a three-year term before the first Bangsamoro elections in 2025.

During his speech, Marcos assured the people of BARMM of the continuous support of the national government, citing the Department of Budget and Management’s allocation of PHP74.4 billion for the region in the proposed 2023 national budget.

“Through the Pamana program, we provide socio-economic interventions that build a culture of peace in highly conflict-affected and vulnerable areas. The government has allocated more than PHP19 billion for the period of 2017 to 2022 in this endeavor and we will ensure the completion despite delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the President said.

BANGSAMORO DEV’T. President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. delivers his keynote speech during the ceremonial opening of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament session in Cotabato City on Thursday (Sept. 15, 2022). Marcos urged the BTA to pass legislative measures that would bring progress to the Bangsamoro region. (MNS photo)

A complementary track to peace negotiations, PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (Pamana) is anchored on the principle of attaining peace by forging strategic partnerships with national agencies in promoting a more convergent delivery of goods and services, and addressing regional development challenges in conflict-affected and vulnerable areas.

Assessment and planning sessions are carried out across the country, led by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.

“This is why we are steadfast in our commitment to the peace process here in southern Philippines. So we push for socio-economic development, interventions to promote peace and development in areas affected by decades of conflict,” Marcos added.

Republic Act No. 11054 or the Organic Law for the BARMM, was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 26, 2018.

The law replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with BARMM, which would have greater fiscal autonomy, a regional government, parliament, and justice system.

BARMM covers the provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur in mainland Mindanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan, with Cotabato City as regional center. (MNS)