“Runing a bureaucracy posed a bigger challenge than waging jungle warfare:”-Al Haj Murad

Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat,  Maguindanao—At a news conference after the culmination of Bangsamoro Consultative Assembly on Bangsamoro Organic law (BOL) on July 29, MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim told reporters that he himself would have to “refresh first”, acknowledging that holding a government post would be different from running the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as its chairman for 15 years.

Admitting that running a bureaucracy is a bigger challenge that waging jungle warfare, Al Haj Murad also told reporters that they are looking to invite young, highly skilled professionals to serve in an “inclusive” new Bangsamoro government.

“The leadership of the MILF admittedly are getting mature—wag na natin sabihin na tumatanda—but they’re getting mature. Now, that is one challenge also for us,” Al Haj Murad said.

 “So we need to let young people come in... as second-liners,” he added. 

Al Haj Murad is expected to lead the transition government as interim chief minister until 2022, a consensus agreed upon by members of the MILF Central Committee.

Al Haj Murad said his group began sending people for skills training in countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Turkey about 5 years ago. 

Many young Bangsamoro are currently enrolled in various universities in these countries taking up four-year courses and master’s degree program.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) was originally called Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as stipulated in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), and on the draft of BBL crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

It was eventually changed into BOL during the deliberations by the bicameral conference committee leading to its passage, ratification by both Houses of Congress on July 18, and signed by President Rodrigo Duterte few days after.

During the consultative assembly at Darapanan, where the administrative and military base of the Moro Front is located, participants were asked if they accept the BOL, the participants answered in the affirmative, many of whom shouting Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar (Allah is Greatest). 

The passage of BOL is a landmark legislation pushed hard by the Duterte Administration even during his election campaign in 2016.