Abdullah Macapaar, center, who uses the nom de guerre Commander Bravo, along with some of the fiercest Muslim rebel commanders in Mindanao , takes his oath during a ceremony for the creation of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority or BTA at the Presidential Palace in Manila Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP)

Bangsamoro, “Landmark achievement on the road to lasting peace in Mindanao”- UN Sec General

Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao–UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hailed the establishment of a new Bangsamoro autonomous region as a “landmark achievement on the road to lasting peace” in Mindanao, said a report by yesterday.

Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the Secretary-General, conveyed Guterres’ congratulatory message to the Philippine government, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, civil society groups and local communities as Manila handed over Friday the reins of the new Muslim-led territory to rebel leaders who waged a decades-long fight for autonomy, the report also said.

“This is a landmark achievement on the road to lasting peace in the Southern Philippines, as well as a historic occasion for all people from the Philippines,” said Dujarric in a statement sent from the UN Headquarters in New York Friday. 

On February 22, President Rodrigo Duterte swore in Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as interim chief minister, and other members of the Bangsamoro Parliament at a symbolic ceremony in Malacañang in the presence of the diplomatic corps, cabinet members, AFP, and PNP Officers, and the media.

In the same statement, Dujarric said the United Nations “will continue to support the Philippines in the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, and to help build the capacity of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to achieve peace, democratic governance, and respect for human rights.”

After the formal turn-over from the ARMM to Bangsamoro on February 26, Al Haj Murad as Chief Minister will form a cabinet, pass laws such as Administrative Code, Civil Service Code, Tax Code, etc., as well as other essential laws to jumpstart the rehabilitation of Bangsamoro communities.

The new entity is better-funded and slightly larger. The national government retains police powers, the also said in its report. (Source: France-Presse)