By Ali G. Macabalang
Region Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim has appealed for support from authorities and constituents in building strong foundations in the governance of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, saying that “genuine autonomy” has been gradually shaping up in the infant geo-political entity.
Speaking at the kick-off ceremony here of events marking the BARMM 2nd founding anniversary, Ebrahim said that initial successes in efforts to build “genuine autonomy” in BARMM have been achieved, adding that cooperation from the public and private sectors can further bolster the momentum.
“We can proudly say that we have achieved genuine autonomy that encapsulates the long history of Bangsamoro people, our sacrifices, and our shared visions for the next generation,” Murad said.
But he added that since its creation two years ago, the interim BARMM governance has seen “an incredible number of challenges and opportunities that defined what makes of our new bureaucracy and how we can address such concerns that will ultimately benefit everyone.”
Ebrahim reiterated that the next level of Bangsamoro struggle could be deemed successful “if the moral governance thrives.”
“We cannot claim success in this next level of our struggle if we will not be successful in building ideal governance, which is founded on moral governance,” he said, hinting at the revolutionary movement pursued by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as the initial stage.
Ebrahim is concurrent chairman of the MILF, which forged with the government two major peace deals in 2013 and 2014 that translated to the enactment in July 2018 of R.A. 11054 or Bangsamoro Organic Law creating the BARMM in replacement of the 29-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Prior to Ebrahim’s address, BARMM spokesman and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo told a national media entity in a podcast that the new autonomous governance now enjoys genuine fiscal autonomy in comparison to the defunct ARMM bureaucracy’s dependence to congressional appropriations. BARMM’s subsidies like the yearly block grant are automatically allocated from the national treasury.
Ebrahim sounded the “gong” (Muslim percussion instrument) to signify the formal start on Jan. 18 of commemorative events that would culminate Thursday, Jan. 21.
He subsequently led the symbolic dispersal of relief goods, economic (fishery and agricultural) support packages and health facilities as well the launching of disaster-mitigating vehicles and equipment, including two rescue speedboats acquired by the autonomous government to address emergency situations.
Similar symbolic launches of infrastructure projects and life-enhancing initiatives were launched simultaneously in the BARMM component provinces of Maguindanao, Basian, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato, Marawi and Lamitan cities and the center of 63 barangays in North Cotabato. AGM