On the last day of this month, you — the local chief executives and other elected officials — will formally assume office to commence a new term of three years of public service.
We, in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, have just preceded you in public service for just four months. It can be said that we are actually contemporaneous in trying to discharge our respective mandates.
In any big task, it is always good to prepare. This Training cum Orientation may no longer be new to many of you. But we are now under a new autonomous government, the BARMM or Bangsamoro Government, with a new leadership, new direction, and new law.
The implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law or BOL, and establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority or the Bangsamoro Government, present new challenges to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro as a whole.
But alongside these challenges are the opportunities that we have now that we are given a more ample room to exercise our right to self-determination within the framework of the Philippine Constitution.
It is narrated in the hadiths that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has once dispatched an army to the battlefront. Upon their successful return, he said: ’Blessed are those who have performed the minor jihad and have yet to perform the major jihad.’ When asked, ‘What is the major jihad?’ the Prophet replied: ‘The jihad of the self (struggle against self).’
I am confident that with the signing of the BOL and its subsequent ratification, we – the Bangsamoro- have won the minor jihad. Now, we are onto the more difficult jihad as we take the helm of the regional leadership. We are placed in a totally different battlefield. We confront entirely different challenges. Foremost of which are the realities of traditional politics in the country and the ailments that have long afflicted Philippine bureaucracy – graft and corruption, red tape, bribery, and influence peddling.
Out in the battlefront, it is easy to identify your enemy – anyone who is fighting for a cause that is different or contrary to what you are fighting for is the enemy. Your goal is to neutralize the enemy.
How do we tackle much less identify our new enemy right now? It takes various forms. It could be anyone including ourself. And it may not be always hostile to our own interest. But it is nonetheless harmful to ourself and to the people we pledge to serve and protect.
The struggle against self is indeed difficult and full of complexities. It is the major jihad for all of us.
In all its years of fighting for the right of the Bangsamoro to self-determination, the MILF has always turned to Islam for guidance. Our ultimate goal is to serve Allah (SWT) and to protect and advance the welfare of the ummah.
Ladies and gentlemen, your Bangsamoro Government wishes to apply the same Islamic principles and teachings of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in governing the region and leading our people to peace and prosperity.
It is good governance in the perspective of Islam or moral governance. Our people deserve nothing less.
I commend the Ministry of Local Government headed by Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo for spearheading this activity and all of you here for your participation and cooperation. The duty to address the various socio-economic challenges in the Bangsamoro region does not rest solely in the hands of the regional government. We cannot do it alone.
I hope this activity will not only capacitate you to better perform as local government officials but also align our efforts and help advance the Bangsamoro development agenda.
The Bangsamoro Government is counting on your support in the Local Government Units in giving life to the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the aspirations of the Bangsamoro.
I have always emphasized that you in the LGUs are in the frontline of public service. You are the faces of government. I truly understand that much as you want to perform all your duties and responsibilities, resources are simply very small compared to the needs and wants of your constituencies.
I also know that majority of municipalities are either 3rd or 4th class category.
On the part of the Bangsamoro Government, we will support you as far as the resources of the autonomous government can be able to provide. Let us be partners in public service, of instituting good governance, and on a higher plane, of moral governance.
Lastly, I congratulate all of you for gaining the trust of your constituents in the last election. I am one with you in trying to live up to the trust reposed on our shoulders.
Thank you again for responding positively to this event.
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