By Ali G. Macabalang
The United Nations (UN) has assured continued support to peace processes across the globe, citing the birth of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as a template of success in roundtable negotiations now reaping “concrete achievement” despite “plenty of challenges.”
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez conveyed the assurance in a brief message before the Bangasamoro Transition Authonority (BTA) Parliament at its 52nd session here on Feb. 17.
Presiding Deputy Speaker Zia Alonto-Adiong suspended the brief session, which was tackling the proposed Civil Service Code in BARMM, to give way to the message of Gonzalez.
“You have now (existed for) two years (amid) plenty of challenges but with concrete achievement,” Gonzalez said.
He said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres conveyed through him the global body’s congratulatory words to the interim BARMM governance on its recent 2nd foundation anniversary last month.
González said the UN is a global community of knowledge and has participated in hundreds of peace processes in order to build a universal atmosphere of amity.
“This experience, this knowledge is at your disposal. So I strongly encourage you to seize this opportunity and make the most of what the UN can offer,” he said amid resounding applause among parliament members and spectators.
The length of Gonzalez’s sojourn in this city, an official seat of the BARMM governance, was now known as of press time. But sources said the UN official toured around the city and in immediate environs for him and his entourage to have a grasp of the atmosphere characterizing general the operations of the new autonomous geo-political entity.
Last Friday, Feb. 19, Gonzalez paid a visit to the office of the BARMM’s Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG) and cordially welcomed the host personnel led by Minister Naguib Sinarimbo.
Social Welfare Minister Raissa Jajurie and Health OIC-Minister Ameril Usman joined Sinarimbo alongside civilian and security officials in hosting a briefing conference for Gonzalez and his entourage.
BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim spearheaded the briefing virtually for Gonzalez’s team, through which he also conveyed back the regional government’s appreciation of the UN leadership’s commitment.
Gonzalez reiterated at Friday’s meeting the UN ready assistance for the interim BARMM governance in addressing “challenges” with a certain degree of chance-talking.
“Challenges cannot be overcome without taking risks,” the UN dignitary told the host officials, including key workers of the Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READI) under the MILG’s supervision.
In response, Sinarimbo appreciated the coming of Gonzalez and his team which, he said, “reaffirms the partnership of the UN and the Bangsamoro.”
Sinarimbo wrapped up the meeting with his presentation of a token to the visiting UN official. AGM