CAMP DARAPANAN, Maguindanao -- Thousands of Moro people voiced their support on Sunday to the newly-signed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) during a gathering here, expressing hope it will bring peace on the island and to end the decades-old armed conflict.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) organized the assembly at its main camp here, with ordinary folks, mothers, fathers, children, young and old Moro, politicians included in attendance.
Organizers claimed that some 90,000 Moros from across the island were present in the day-long activity.
“We have done our part, we worked hard for this law,” Mohagher Iqbal, MILF chief negotiator, told the crowd, many of them in tears for the success of the peace process.
“This is not for us current MILF leaders but for you and your children’s future,” Iqbal told the crowd.
The BOL is an enabling law of the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro that the national government and MILF forged after more than 20 years of peace negotiation. President Rodrigo Duterte signed the BOL last week, a law that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) set up.
“The new law has been enhanced and more inclusive than the current ARMM,” Iqbal said.
Speaking in vernacular, Nasser Abot, an MILF fighter for a decade, said he is now feeling the atmosphere of peace in his hometown in Pikit, North Cotabato “because peace is now here.”
“The feeling is great, I pray that no more blood will be shed in our fight for self-determination,” Kuden Sulayman, a mother of six, told reporters.
Also on Sunday, MILF chief Hadji Murad Ebrahim reiterated the readiness of the MILF to decommission once the Bangsamoro government is in place.
Present were former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema and Yusoph Jikiri, erstwhile governor of Sulu, who both represented the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the assembly.
The MILF is a breakaway faction of the MNLF, which inked a final peace pact with the government in Sept. 1996 under former MNLF chairman Nur Misuari.