Al Haj Murad Ebrahim. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
COTABATO CITY — The leadership of the new political entity in Muslim Mindanao will reach out to its former comrades who “left” the group and joined Islamic State-inspired armed groups operating in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur to convince them to return to the fold of the law.
“We will tell them that good governance is the best path to peace,” Hadji Murad Ebrahim, who assumed Tuesday as interim chief minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), said.
The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), headed by Ebrahim, is now overseeing the transition from the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to BARMM.
It held its first session Wednesday at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex here.
The first BTA meeting, also described as a “caucus,” tackled preparations for the BTA inauguration and the first regular session of the BARMM Parliament.
Ebrahim or his deputies have yet to reveal what was “finalized” during the meeting. Ebrahim earlier said the inauguration and first parliament session would surely be held in March.
He said the BTA would have to function efficiently to show the disgruntled Bangsamoro that it could usher in socio-economic development in the impoverished region.
“To convince them to return to the mainstream, we must show proof. We may have to use diplomacy to bring them in,” Ebrahim said after assuming the BARMM leadership Tuesday.
BTA will act as BARMM for the next three years until the new set of officers shall have been elected in 2022.
Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, designated as a local government minister, said good governance is crucial to BARMM’s peace and development initiatives.
Speaking to reporters, Sinarimbo said his office would seek police and military assistance in monitoring the presence and performance of local executives across the region.
“We are still under martial law. The police and the Army will surely help us check if local officials are functioning,” Sinarimbo said, adding that many village and town officials in far-flung communities were not actually performing under the previous autonomous setup.
Sinarimbo also announced that the 63 village governments in North Cotabato that recently joined the political set up would be managed temporarily by an administrator who would be named by Ebrahim.
He said the administrator would be named soon so as not to create a political vacuum in 63 villages from six towns of North Cotabato./lzb
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