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Bangsamoro gov’t ‘forever grateful’ to Aquino, says chief

MJ Blancaflor

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The Bangsamoro government is mourning the death of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, saying it is “forever grateful” to his administration’s peace efforts that led to the creation of a new autonomous region in Mindanao.

Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim, the region’s chief minister, expressed grief over the passing of the former leader, whom he honored for laying the framework for the creation of Bangsamoro.

“We are forever grateful for his administration’s efforts in revitalizing the peace talks and their help in laying the groundwork for lasting peace in Mindanao,” he said.

Ebrahim said his August 2011 meeting with Aquino in Narita, Japan led to the continuing negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), then the largest Muslim rebel group in the country.

The “confidence of both parties in the peace process” paved the way for the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2012 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2014, which served as the basis for the establishment of a new autonomous territory dubbed the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

It replaced the 28-year-old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which the Aquino administration called a “failed experiment.”

BARMM has greater fiscal autonomy, a regional government, parliament, and justice system than the preceding region.

It includes Cotabato City, 63 barangays in the municipalities of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pigkawayan, and Pikit in North Cotabato.

BARMM’s creation was seen as a political solution to the four-decade Muslim insurgency in the south and has been regarded as Aquino’s legacy, although it was signed into law and ratified during President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

“The Bangsamoro government joins the entire country in mourning the death of former President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino who passed away,” Ebrahim said.

He also hailed Aquino “for his commitment to fight corruption and just like his parents, his unwavering commitment to democracy.”

“Our thoughts go out to his family, friends, and to the rest of the country during this difficult loss,” Ebrahim said.

The son of democracy icons, slain Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, the younger Aquino died in his sleep on Thursday morning due to a renal disease secondary to diabetes. He is survived by his sisters Ballsy, Pinky, Viel, and Kris, and their families.

Aquino’s remains have been cremated. He would be laid to rest on Saturday at the Manila Memorial Park, the burial site of his parents.

Duterte declared a 10-day period of national mourning starting Thursday until 3 July.

“In this regard, the national flag shall be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on all government buildings and installations throughout the Philippines and abroad for a period of 10 days,” the President said.

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