Duterte may allow BARMM to create own armed forces to combat terrorism

COTABATO CITY— The Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said before the distribution of land ownership award (CLOA) to agrarian reform beneficiaries in Cotabato City on Monday, December 23, that the new region was a “bit peaceful” although terrorists remained in the area.

However, even allowing the BARMM to have its armed forces, the President reminded the Bangsamoro leaders to refrain from using the armed against the country.

“Do not use it against the very entity that created you, which is government,” he stressed. 

Some observers lauded Pres. Duterte for his gesture of allowing the Bangsamoro government to have their own armed forces. 

It is recalled that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) through its ‘Darul Ifta’ or the House of Opinion, Bangsamoro Mufti Sheik Abuhuraira Udasan issued a fatwa in order for the MILF combatants to fight terrorism.

Months ago, MILF fighters belonging to the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) has driven away Abu Turaifie of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), also known as Dawlah Islamiya from their community who had sworn allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Abu Turayfie ISIS-inspired group was flushed-out from a Maguindanao town, but the BIAF Combatants have suffered casualties during armed confrontation. The most recent was the mercilessness killing of seven MILF members also in Maguindanao. 

The MILF and the Philippine Government signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in 2014 that concretized the aspiration of the Bangsamoro people for self-governance which paved the way for the establishment of BARMM trough the enactment of RA11054.

However, on security aspect of the peace agreement, the MILF and the Bangsamoro people had pushed for the creation of Bangsamoro Police so that people in the Bangsamoro could be protected against the extremist groups, lawless elements, and well-armed private armed groups. 

Mohagher Iqbal, Chairman of the MILF Peace Implementing panel have openly said in in the past, specially to the youth that the MILF had not formally closed the peace negotiation. 

Iqbal, now heads the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education of the BARMM said that he hopes that the remaining 15% in the CAB, the next generation could continue to ask until the full implementation of the agreement. 

“Abdullah,” a Bangsamoro Professional who refused to divulge his full name said that the message of President Duterte could be a possible prelude to review the agreement between the MILF and Government so that President Duterte desire to eradicate terrorist groups in Mindanao, and for the Moro people to have their own security forces will bring peace in the BARMM.