DEPUTY Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman has announced his planned launching of a special tribute to the late former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III and his immense contributions to the peace process in Muslim Mindanao and the progress the region now enjoys.
“Mula sa kanyang unang SONA (State of the Nation Address) noong 2010 hanggang sa kanyang huli noong 2015, hindi pinapalagpas ni PNoy ang pagkakataon na ipaabot sa mga tao kung gaano kahalaga sa kanya ang kapayapaan at kaunlaran sa Bangsamoro,” Hataman said.
“In his first SONA, PNoy made it a point to pursue peace in Mindanao, highlighting the need to pursue a peace process that is inclusive of all stakeholders, especially the people,” said Hataman, former governor of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), adding he will be coming out with a series of posts on his FB page entitled, “A Tribute to PNoy’s Legacy of Peace and Progress in Muslim Mindanao.”
“Naaalala ko pa ang sinabi nya sa kanyang unang SONA: ‘It is difficult to begin discussions in earnest if the smell of gun powder still hangs in the air.’ Kaya hinikayat nya hindi lang ang MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) sa peace table, pati na rin ang CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front).”
Hataman was appointed as governor to ARMM by Aquino in an OIC capacity in 2011, but was later elected to the position in the 2013 elections and reelected in 2016.
“By his second, third, fourth and fifth SONA, Aquino was reporting year after year the progress made both in the peace process with the MILF and the institutional reforms implemented to correct the wrongs – some of them reprehensible – plaguing ARMM,” the Basilan legislator said.
“Sa kanyang panunungkulan, madami ang nagbago sa ARMM, nagbuhos ng pondo para sa proyektong pangkabuhayan, imprastruktura, edukasyon, kalusugan at sa komunidad, at naayos ang pagsasagawa ng halalan,” he added.
“At, higit sa lahat, nasimulan ang usaping pangkapayapaan sa MILF na nagtapos sa pagbabalangkas ng batas na gumawa ng BARMM.”
It was in Aquino’s presidency that the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and, subsequently, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) were signed, paving the way for Congress to pass and enact what is now known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law in 2018 under President Duterte’s term.
“PNoy was instrumental in ending more than 40 years of armed conflict in the region. Trust in government was very high, and the atmosphere of fear that pervaded Muslim Mindanao finally came to an end,” Hataman said.
“Nagawa nya ito sa pamamagitan ng maayos na pamamahala at pagpapataas ng tiwala ng tao sa gobyerno. At ang kapayapaan ang naging daan ng pagpapaunlad ng mga lalawigang nahirapang umangat dahil sa digmaan,” he added.