Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman and Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim met Tuesday. (John Unson)

Basilan governor vows support to Bangsamoro gov’t peace program

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Cotabato City, Philippines

Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman on Tuesday, July 12, reassured the Bangsamoro government of his support for its peace and development initiatives essential to putting an end to decades-old Philippine Moro issue.

Salliman and Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) met at the BARMM capitol on Tuesday and discussed possible joint programs strengthening the agriculture and fishery sectors in Basilan.

Basilan, a component-province of BARMM, has 11 towns and two cities, Lamitan and Isabela, home to members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

“We talked about the prospects of the rubber industry in Basilan, a longtime source of income for residents in the province,” Salliman, reelected to a third term during the May 9 elections, said.

Salliman and Ebrahim also discussed how BARMM and the Basilan provincial government together establish a district hospital in Maluso town in the island province.

“We also exchanged views on the need to have good rubber processing facilities in the province and ice plants and cold storage facilities for fishes from Basilan’s territorial seas. I felt the chief minister’s sincerity in committing his support for our efforts,” Salliman said.

Ebrahim as regional chief minister helms the 80-member of BARMM interim parliament. He is the chairman of the MILF.

The MILF has two peace accords with Malacañang, the 2012 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB), and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB).

Salliman had also told Ebrahim about the plan of his office and the mayor of Lamitan City, Roderick Furigay, to construct an airport in Basilan with the help of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

Furigay, also a staunch supporter of Malacañang’s peace process with the Moro sectors, said the airport shall spread through four adjoining barangays — Calugusan, Balas, Buahan and Ubit — in Lamitan City.

Furigay said they are convinced that a provincemate, the newly reappointed administrator of the Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA), Gerry Salapuddin, who has a good link with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., can help them push the planned airport forward.

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“The BARMM chief minister is also in favor of that airport construction plan,” Salliman said.

Salliman is also a consistent endorser of the decommissioning of former Moro guerillas under the peace agreement as a prelude to their reintegration into the society. (John Unson)

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