BARMM chief wants ‘next president’ Robredo to continue peace process

Published March 17, 2022, 8:32 AM

by Raymund Antonio

COTABATO CITY — Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said on Wednesday, March 16, that they want presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo to pursue the peace talks in the region if she’s elected president in May 2022.

Vice President Leni Robredo meets with BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim and the Cabinet members during a visit to Cotabato City on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. (VPLR Media Bureau)

The Vice President visited the Bangsamoro Government Center and met with Ebrahim and BARMM Cabinet officials before her people’s rally in Isabela City, Basilan.

“We look forward with the Vice President to be our next president in order to achieve the continuity we need for the implementation of the peace process,” he said.

He lauded Robredo’s role in crafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which created the BARMM, saying that there were just some incidents during the latter part of the Aquino administration that stalled the talks.

Ebrahim was referring to the 2015 Mamasapano clash that killed 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.

Robredo, who was the co-author of the BBL in the 16th Congress, said that co-authoring the BBL was emotional for her because it felt like a continuation of her husband’s, the late former Interior secretary Jesse Robredo, work.

She affirmed her commitment to the peace process if elected president this coming 2022 polls, recognizing the need of the BARMM to make sure “everything that will be implemented in the manner that you hope it would be implemented.”

“I will be with you 100 percent in making sure that all available government help will be at your disposal to make sure that under my administration, we will be able to really achieve what we had long for, for so long,” Robredo added.

READ: BARMM vote is vital to my presidential campaign—Robredo

Currently, the BARMM is in the “crucial” transition period to establish a Bangsamoro government.

The BARMM will give equal opportunities to other national candidates to present their platforms for the region before deciding who to endorse for the 2022 polls, but its spokesman Naguib Sinarimbo praised Robredo’s “substantial knowledge” on the Bangsamoro issues.

Sinarimbo, minister of the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG), said that the “standing policy” of the regional government is to welcome national candidates, hear their platforms, and analyze their positions on the critical Bangsamoro issues.

That’s the only time they can come up with an endorsement of any presidential candidate.

“Meron tayo (We have) internally na napag-usapan kung kailan officially mag-e-endorse. But ‘yung (talked about when to officially endorse. But our) timetable natin dependent doon sa (is dependent on the) opportunity for other national candidates to present para maging patas pa rin ho at objective ‘yong pagpili (for the selection to be fair and objective),” Sinarimbo said.

But he lauded Robredo for her knowledge about the peace agreement in the region, particularly the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

“So substantial naman ho ‘yong knowledge niya para maging kampante tayo na kaya niyang itulak at ipagpatuloy ‘yong (her knowledge is substantial for us to be comfortable that she can push for and continue the) implementation ng (of the) peace agreement,” the minister added.