By Genalyn Kabiling
The interim government of the Bangsamoro region has vowed to lead with “moral governance” and launch a new jihad against poverty and neglect.
Interim chief minister Al Haj Murad Ebrahim made the commitment after announcing the start of the decommissioning of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants and weapons at the inaugural ceremony of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
“Today marks history for us. We are starting a new kind of jihad, a jihad against poverty, against want and against neglect,” Murad said during the inaugural rites held in Cotabato City.
“As we start the Bangsamoro government, we vow to make moral governance as the foundation of this leadership,” he added
He noted that the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) will be guided by the teachings of Islam, including the brand of leadership that signifies good governance. He said the BTA held its first session Friday.
Murad and other officials of the BTA also took their oath of moral governance before the Quran during the inauguration day. The interim government will lead the Bangsamoro autonomous region until the new regional leaders are elected in 2022.
President Duterte was also present at the historic ceremony.
In his speech, Murad said the MILF has submitted a complete list of combatants and weapons to the International Decommissioning Body for decommissioning. Such gesture represented the first phase of the decommissioning process, he added.
The decommissioning of the MILF forces and weapons is part of the comprehensive Bangsamoro agreement forged with the government.
Murad, meantime, paid tribute to the Bangsamoro people for their dedication and tireless efforts to attain the momentous creation of the new autonomous region.
He cited that the Bangsamoro region inauguration came five years since the MILF forged a peace pact with the government, a product of 17 years of peace talks.
“There were ups and downs during the past 22 years but here we are today together with the President of our country Rodrigo Duterte inaugurating the product of what we have been working long before the peace talks started 22 years ago,” he said.
He also thanked Duterte for attending the inauguration ceremony, saying the Bangsamoro would cherish his sincerity to solve the conflict in Mindanao.