MAGUINDANAO – Vice President Leni Robredo got the endorsement of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim in a ceremony at Camp Darapanan, here Saturday morning.
Robredo flew to Maguindanao on her 57th birthday to secure the endorsement of Ebrahim, who also sits as chairman of his United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP).
The Chief Minister said Robredo was one of two “courageous” presidential candidates who sought their endorsement.
“The UBJP categorically endorses Leni Robredo as its presidential candidate for the May 9, 2022 national and local elections. Her track record consistently demonstrates strong support of the advocacies of the Bangsamoro,” Ebrahim said.
Besides the Office of the Vice President projects for the past six years in the region, Robredo has a five-point plan for BARMM:
- hasten the implementation of the comprehensive agreement on the Bangsamoro including the political track and normalization track,
- fully implement the Bangsamoro Organic Law
- immediate passing of transitional justice
- activating the amnesty commission and,
- completing the rehabilitation of Marawi City.
“It is really a commitment to further the peace process. It is a commitment to assure the Bangsamoro people na pagtatrabahuhan natin ng sabay-sabay ang autonomy. Ito ang commitment na bibigyan natin ng heart and soul ang mga batas na ipinasa ng Kongreso,” Robredo said.
Asked during the press conference if the UBJP can deliver votes for Robredo, Ebrahim expressed confidence, despite several provincial governors supporting former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“We cannot say na ganito karami, but I assure you na as far as the leadership of BARMM, we are still in control of the entire BARMM area,” Ebrahim said.
Robredo added: “Mas pinapahalagahan ko ang suportang ito, na ito ’yung mga tao na nag-spend most of their life fighting for justice. Tumataya sa isang hindi frontrunner, speaks so much of the kind of principles ng lalim ng pinaghuhugutan ng pinaglalaban.”
On Friday, Bangsamoro leaders, namely Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan, Sultan Kudarat Gov. Suharto Mangudadatu, Maguindanao Gov. Bai Mariam Mangudadatu, Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Cotabato City Mayor Frances Cynthia Sayadi, Tawi-Tawi gubernatorial candidate Sadikul Sahali, and Basilan gubernatorial candidate Alfiya Akbar, signed an "oath of commitment" to the UniTeam tandem.
BARMM has more than 2.5 million registered voters in the May elections, according to data monitored by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
Robredo ally and Basilan Representative Mujiv Hataman, meanwhile, welcomed the endorsements from Ebrahim and the UBJP.
“Napakahaba ng kasaysayan ng karahasan, kawalan ng hustisya at pagmasaker sa mga kapatid nating Moro noong panahon ng Martial Law,” Hataman said in a statment.
“At bilang isang organisasyong nagsusulong ng karapatan ng Bangsamoro, naniniwala ako na tama ang desisyon ng MILF sa pagpili ng kandidatong hindi lamang kumikilala sa pinagdaanan ng mga Moro sa kasaysayan, kundi sumusuporta rin at naniniwala sa karapatan natin sa self-governance and self-determination.”
The Basilan lawmaker also pointed out that Robredo supported the Bangsamoro Basic Law when it was still in Congress. – With a report by Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News.