Duterte to Bangsamoro people: Bury your guns, join peace efforts

MANILA, Philippines – With the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) now ratified and the Bangsamoro interim government about to be formed, President Rodrigo Duterte appealed to rebels in the region to "bury" their guns and join efforts for peace.

Duterte gave this message while in Buluan, Maguindanao, part of the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), on Monday, February 11.

"I'm glad that it has succeeded and I am inviting everyone here...join us in government," said Duterte.

"Hindi man akin 'yan. Atin itong gobyerno. Be a part of it. Okay na 'yung armas mo, ilibing mo na 'yan. Hindi mo kailangan," he added.

(The government is not mine. This government is ours. Be a part of it. You can bury your weapons. You won't need them.)

The aid, according to Duterte, will come.

"Isang putok niyan, gulo, pero kung tahimik tayo, mag-usap tayo at maibigay naman 'yung gusto 'nyong tulong na dapat naman sa inyo," he said.

(Just one shot and there will be chaos, but if we're just quiet, we can talk and we can give you the help that should be given to you.)

Duterte, credited by BOL advocates to be the driving force behind the historic law's ratification, described the BOL as "one of the greatest developments that happened in this country."

He capped his speech with an energetic declaration of support for the Bangsamoro people.

"Mabuhay ang BOL! Mabuhay ang Maguindanao! Mabuhay si Murad (Long live the BOL! Long live Maguindanao! Long live Murad)!" he said, referring to Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Murad Ebrahim, a central figure in the BOL and Mindanao peace process.

Stop warlordism

Duterte also asked the Bangsamoro people to help put a stop to warlordism, common in the troubled southern region, and aided by political clans that have long held power and influence.

"Mamumuhay tayo ng payapa, walang pasikat-sikat. Wala 'yung warlord warlord na may armas. Ah letse! Kayo dapat ninyong – put a stop to it," he said.

(Let us live in peace, with no one lording over us. No more warlords with arms. Fools! So you should put a stop to it.)

He warned against powerful people who use weapons or private armies to scare people into voting for them or their allies during elections.

"They only collect arms so that, one day they'll be famous and during elections, they will go there and knock on people's doors," said Duterte in Filipino.

Murad, who is expected to be appointed chief minister of the Bangsamoro interim government, previously told Rappler that private armies and warlordism are among the biggest security challenges facing the new BARMM region.

He said a crackdown on loose firearms would be a priority of the new Bangsamoro government. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.