Open house All are free to jump in when the topic is politics as Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chairman Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim, who is now also the interim Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Region, and other personalities take in an assertion of Sen. Koko Pimentel in Malacañang. YUMMIE DINGDING

Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim now interim BTA Chief Minister

Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao- After his appointment and oath taking at the Heroes Hall of Malacañang Palace, Manila last night, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim is now the interim head of the newly created Bangsamoro Transition Authority or BTA.

The BTA will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao after the successful conduct of plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on January 21st, and February 6, and the proclamation and confirmation by COMELEC of the plebiscite results.

A formal turnover from ARMM to Bangsamoro will take place on February 26.

In his message last night at Malacañang, President Duterte urged the BTA to work for the speedy decommissioning of the MILF forces and weapons. 

The MILF has approximately 30,000 to 40,000 combatants.

“Always work for the best interest and welfare, not only of the Bangsamoro people, but every Filipino who lives in that region,” Duterte said as quoted by Philstar in its report.

“I trust that you will oversee the transition period to the best of your abilities, especially in the decommissioning of firearms and former combatants,” he Philstar quoted him saying.

While the road to peace had been long and tortuous, Duterte said he is “glad that we have finally reached its endpoint.”

 “My only hope is that we put to rest the bitter memories of the past so that we can build a new region that is bound not by ethnic or religious affiliation, but by a common aspiration for peaceful coexistence among our fellow Filipinos,” he said as quoted by Philstar.

He also stressed that the establishment of BARMM is not just the fulfillment of a campaign promise.

“It will be the realization of our collective desire. It will be the realization of all our dreams and end long decades of armed struggle that hindered the growth of the region I also consider my home,” Duterte said.

He expressed hope that genuine peace and development in the region is within reach.

“Now that we have realized our aspirations, believe me, we in Mindanao share our values, we would like to see an end to violence that has led to nothing,” the Chief Executive said.

The Bangsamoro people, he emphasized, are assured of comfort and protection in the exercise of rule of law under his administration.

 “Today, I thank Allah for his mercy and for his understanding of his people,” he added.

With the BOL in place, he said the Bangsamoro people stand to benefit more from their land’s bounty and resources. 

“I hope that we can end this... and I assure you, there is one contentious issue, resources, it’s also yours,” he said, referring to the Liguasan Marsh that he vowed would benefit Mindanaoans.

He ended his speech with “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) to trumpet his commitment to the cause of Muslim Filipinos. (Source: Philstar-2-23-19)