By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has apologized to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari for the delay in the implementation of a proposed federalism in the country, Malacañang said Tuesday.
The President had a brief meeting with Misuari in Malacañang Monday night and thanked the former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor for his patience, according to Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.
“The meeting with MNLF chair Nur Misuari lasted only 15 minutes. They are going to meet again,” Panelo said during the Palace press briefing.
“What transpired last night was the President told the chairman that he admired his patience and he apologized for not having implemented or enforced whatever agreements that they had previously with regard to federalism or something and they will be talking again precisely for that,” he added.
The President’s closed-door meeting with Misuari came after Duterte revealed the “rumblings” in the MNLF about the new Bangsamoro autonomous region.
The MNLF reportedly sought greater representation in the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority after only five seats were allocated to the group.
Under the law creating the Bangsamoro region, the BTA or the interim government will be composed of 41 nominees from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and 39 individuals nominated by the government.
MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim has been appointed interim chief minister of the BTA that will govern the region until the new regional leaders are elected in 2022.
Ebrahim and other BTA members took their oath before the President last week. The Palace, however, has yet to release the names of the members of the BTA.
Asked if the MNLF’s concern about the BTA representation was tackled in the meeting, Panelo said Misuari did not mention the matter.
But Panelo said Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. has attested to “an equitable distribution, representation” in the BTA.