Duterte vows continued support for Bangsamoro region

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As the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao celebrates its second founding anniversary, President Rodrigo Duterte assured that the region will continue to receive assistance from the national government especially amid the COVID-19 crisis. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 21) — As the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao celebrates its second founding anniversary, President Rodrigo Duterte assured that the region will continue to receive assistance from the national government especially amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Duterte on Thursday led an event in Malacanang with BARMM Interim Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim, commemorating the Bangsamoro Founding Anniversary celebrated every Jan. 21.

"Today, like the rest of the nation, the BARMM is faced with many daunting challenges, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic," said the President in a speech. "This is why I've given marching orders to all relevant agencies to give full support to BARMM through continued assistance in the region."

On July 26, 2018, Duterte announced he had signed the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or more commonly known at the time as the Bangsamoro Organic Law. The law abolished the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and established a new autonomous political entity with more power, including its own parliament.

The creation of the BARMM has raised hopes that the Bangsamoro will have a chance at genuine self-governance that it has been fighting for for decades.

Duterte said the law has paved the way to several accomplishments such as "the participation of the BARMM government in the national planning process; the transfer of the management of existing reserves and protected areas from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to the BARMM; and the creation of the Bangsamoro Electoral Office and the regional offices of several national government agencies."

"Be assured that this administration will remain determined in its commitment to support self-determination, uphold human rights, and advance social welfare in the Bangsamoro region," said Duterte.

BARMM officials are currently batting for an extension of the transition period to give them more time to put in place the normalization and peace-keeping process. Duterte's Cabinet officials earlier said he agreed to an extended transition period until 2025, while the House of Representatives are expected to tackle bills regarding this matter within the month.