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Philippines: Mindanao Muslims celebrate autonomous region anniversary

22nd Nov 2017
Philippines: Mindanao Muslims celebrate autonomous region anniversary

By Roy Ramos

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (AA) – A representative of the Philippines’ one-time largest Muslim rebel group on Monday joined the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in commemorating its 28th founding anniversary.

The attendance of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Vice-Chair Ghadzali Jaafar marked the first time the group was represented at the Charter Day celebration for the region.

“We in the MILF do not reject peace and development initiatives for the Bangsamoro people, and the current ARMM government is good on that,” Jaafar said as quoted by Inquirer News.

According to a report published Wednesday, the MILF refused to recognize the ARMM as a representation of the Bangsamoro people’s aspirations, even calling its creation “sham autonomy” and a “failed experiment”.

The event on Monday was highlighted by the delivery of Governor Mujiv Hataman’s State of the Region Address which, according to Hataman, could possibly be the last, eyeing the passing of the Bangsamoro Basic Law which would establish a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region to replace the existing ARMM.

The draft law, which was created by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission composed of members of the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front as well as representatives from the national government, is a fulfilment of the peace agreement that boosts the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people to establish a more independent and powerful homeland.

It was presented by the commission to President Rodrigo Duterte in July and was transmitted by Duterte to the Senate and Congress the following month.

[Philippines map By CIA /Creative Commons]

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