President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, Nov. 7 signed an executive order creating an expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) that will draft the law to create a new Bangsamoro region.
The creation of a Bangsamoro region to replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will implement the peace deal between the government and Muslim group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“I am committed to the peace process… Maski ‘yan lang magawa ko sa bayan ko, okay na ako,” said Duterte after the signing ceremony at Rizal Hall in Malacanan.
Duterte said that during the elections, he was appalled that nobody was talking about Mindanao and its problems.
”I was the only one talking about it because the rest of the guys with due respect never knew any single issue about Mindanao, either they did not know about it or just pretended not to talk about it, maybe, well, fear to alienate the others or not also frank enough to admit that there is a problem which we have to solve,” he said.
Duterte said he was a witness to the deaths in the places where Mindanaoans fight for their land. He said Mindanao was his battle cry aside from corruption, drugs and criminality as he wants to end the cycle of war.
He said if no one will stand for peace in Mindanao, the country will have another round of almost 45 years of fighting, which he describes as a tragedy.
He said that is why he is pushing for the passage of BBL, which will create a new autonomous area that will have more powers than the Autonomous Region in Mindanao that it is supposed to replace.
“So I would be the last person really to deny hindi natin kailangan [ang peace process],” Duterte said.
Duterte reiterated the need to shift the system of government to federal to address the concerns of rebel groups.
The Chief Executive said his only desire is that peace in Mindanao “would finally come.”
“And if it can be done peacefully without a fight, we would be grateful to God,” he said.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Secretary Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process; Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al Haj Ebrahim Murad; members of the MILF Central Committee; GPH Implementing Panel Chair Irene Santiago; Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal and members of the Cabinet and other distinguished guests. PND