Thank you very much Secretary Anton Lagdameo for your very kind introduction. [Please take your seats.]
With us today, we have brought the leadership of the country to witness this very, very important occasion. With us today is Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri; the Speaker of the House of Representatives Congressman Martin Romualdez; and of course another department and another Cabinet Secretary who was very involved in many of the talks and discussions that you have had before we got into the final constitution of the membership of the Authority is DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos; of course our Chief Minister, Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim; Bangsamoro Transition Authority Parliament Speaker, Speaker Balindong; Wali Sheikh Khalifa Nando; Supreme Court Associate Justice Japar Dimaampao; and let us not forget the Chairman of the MNLF, Chairman Nur Misuari; and all the distinguished guests that we have here with us today on this very solemn and important occasion.
I am of course very pleased to be here with you this afternoon to witness the opening of the session of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority Parliament. My congratulations to all that have been involved. [applause]
To the newly appointed members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, we would not have witnessed this glorious unfolding of history without you. We set our feet before this place and herald the trials that you have won through courage, certainty, and noble bravery.
The diverse representation now of the BTA speaks volumes of your answer towards that call for unity, of shared responsibility, and the invitation to advocate peace and development in the Bangsamoro region.
At this point, we noted the gains as the Chief Minister had enumerated them in his own message. You have already accomplished a long list of achievements starting with the approval of the Bangsamoro Transition Plan, the passage of the most important legislations such as the Administrative Code, the Civil Service Code, the Education Code. These are cornerstones of BARMM moral self-governance.
But nonetheless, no matter how impressive the gains the Bangsamoro have already seen, I always think this is just the beginning. As we go on and we formalize the structure and institutionalize the functions of the Bangsamoro government, we will see that those sufficiencies will come in and what we had celebrated today and at the very beginning of the existence of the BARMM that what we had celebrated we will now look upon as only a glimpse of what will happen in the future.
The establishment of your offices, their functions, I look forward to the fulfillment of your vision to realize a united, enlightened, self-governing, peaceful, just, morally upright, and progressive Bangsamoro. [applause]
As your President, I assure you, the BTA and all the Bangsamoro people, of this administration’s full and unwavering commitment to the peace process and to BARMM. [applause]
This is why we are steadfast in our commitment to the peace process here in southern Philippines. So we push for socioeconomic development, interventions to promote peace and development in areas affected by decades of conflict.
Through the PAMANA program, we provide socioeconomic interventions that build the culture of peace in highly conflict-affected and vulnerable areas. The government has allocated more than 19 billion pesos for the period of 2017 to 2022 in this endeavor. And we will ensure the completion despite delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, the government, through the Department of Budget and Management has allocated 74.4 billion pesos for the Bangsamoro region fiscal year 2023.
Given these new opportunities to deliver our commitments to the people of BARMM, I urge you to pass all the crucial legislations on fiscal policy, particularly taxation, and to facilitate the conduct of the elections in the BARMM in 2025.
I also encourage the BTA to pass measures that will secure the welfare of the Moro people particularly in agri-fishery, healthcare, transportation, communication, digital infrastructure, and e-governance.
As we celebrate National Peace Consciousness Month this September, we know that with unity and solidarity, the BTA will be successful in facilitating the institution of the Bangsamoro government, one that is centered in promoting good governance and lasting peace for its people.
The path to lasting peace is always under construction. But we walk this path together and we walk it, not because it is an easy one. We walk this path together because even if it is difficult, we know that at the end of the journey is historical justice, progress, peace, stability, and the unity that our peoples and our nation have long aspired for and so rightly deserve.
I cannot end without thanking our partners from the different lands who have come to Bangsamoro to encourage this peace process and who have invested so much of their time, their energy, and their funding to Bangsamoro for the development of the many different aspects that have fallen behind in the development brought by the national government.
It has certainly paved the way to this day. Thank you for your assistance. We could not have done it without you. [applause]
So once again, I say to you all, to all the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority and to all our Bangsamoro brothers, congratulations! Mabuhay po kayong lahat. [applause]
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SOURCE: OPS-PND (Presidential News Desk)