INTERIOR and Local Government Minister Naguib G. Sinarimbo of the Bangsamoro region shrugged off President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, where two pending bills vital to the new autonomous area were not mentioned.
“We will act and not merely react. This has been the story of our struggle,” said Mr. Sinarimbo, also the spokesperson of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) government.
He said achieving sustainable peace and economic development in the BARMM does not rest on one person alone and they will simply have to carry on with the work.
“Some people would come along the way and help us move the struggle to a new phase and milestone. And we will forever be grateful to them. And at times they will not continue along the path of our struggle and would simply stop,” he said in a statement on his Facebook page, noting the media’s “barrage of questions” on his SONA reaction.
The two pending proposed laws are the extension of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to 2025 by postponing the supposed 2022 parliamentary elections in the region, and the compensation bill for Marawi residents affected by the 2017 siege.
In a forum last week organized to drum up support for the extension, Mr. Sinarimbo cited at least eight factors why the transition team needs more time.
Nonetheless, he said the new region’s draft election code has already been reviewed by the Commission on Elections and is expected to be submitted to the BARMM Parliament by August.
He also said the normalization activities for the peace process are continuously being undertaken.
“Everything that can be possibly done, we are doing,” he said in Filipino.
On the compensation bill, several groups expressed disappointment that Mr. Duterte simply called on the task force to ensure the completion of the “necessary work to rehabilitate the war-torn city and bring back its (displaced) families back home.”
“This is a rebuke to the hundreds of thousands of Maranao who continue to suffer just because they were caught in the middle of a war not of their own making,” said the local network Marawi Reconstruction Conflict Watch.
Secretary Eduardo D. Del Rosario, who heads the task force, gave assurance on the completion of the rehabilitation projects, which cover public infrastructures and houses for those who will be relocated but not the rebuilding of destroyed homes and commercial properties.
“On behalf of Task Force Bangon Marawi and our 56 implementing agencies, I would like to assure our President… and our Maranao brothers and sisters that we will complete the rehabilitation of all major infrastructures in Marawi City within his administration,” he said in a statement on Tuesday. — MSJ