'Bangsamoro' OK'd as gov't, MILF forge landmark deal


Bangsamoro's territory will be composed of the present geographical area of the ARMM, the cities of Cotabato and Isabela, as well as  the municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte, a draft of the agreement posted on the government website showed.

Other barangays in the municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit and Midsayap that voted inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite will also be part of the Bangsamoro.

The draft added: "[A]ll other contiguous areas where there is a resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least 10 percent of the qualified voters in the area asking for the inclusion at least two months prior to the conduct of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law."

Despite the landmark deal, the President stressed that peace in Mindanao is still a work in progress, adding that "there are still details that both sides must hammer out."

"Promises must be kept, institutions must be fixed, and new capacities must be built nationally and regionally in order to effectively administer the Bangsamoro. The citizenry, especially the youth, must be empowered so that new leaders may emerge," the President noted.

The pact has yet to be signed, with Aquino adding that details of the newly forged deal will be published online and in national papers in days.

"Nakalahad po ang lahat, at wala kaming tangkang magkubli o maglihim (All details will be bared and we have no intention of keeping the public in the dark)," Aquino said.

"Sinuri po namin nang maigi ang kasunduang ito; balanse ang ating naabot. Itinatama nito ang mali, at naglalagay ng mga mekanismo (We have scrutinized the agreement; we have achieved a balance. It corrects mistakes and establishes mechanisms)," he added.

"Basahin po sana natin ang kasunduang ito hindi bilang 'sila' at 'kami,' kundi bilang nagkakaisang 'tayo' sa ilalim ng bandilang Pilipino (I hope this deal will be appreciated not in terms of 'them' or 'us' but as 'we' under one Filipino banner)," Aquino said.

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