Bangsamoro gov’t lectures Locsin on Turkey’s ‘critical role’ in peace process


The Bangsamoro government has lectured Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. about the role played by Turkey in the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Spokeperson Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo, in a statement, also said that Locsin should understand the peace process.

“Certainly, the good secretary is better advice to understand the peace process and the critical role played by Turkey in our peace process, after all this good relation redounds to the benefit of the country,” he said.

Sinarimbo issued the statement following Locsin’s tweet Friday, December 27, threatening to file a diplomatic protest and even cut ties with Turkey after BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim’s trip to Ankara on December 11-16.

“Filing a diplomatic protest against Turkey; studying charges vs Filipino BARMM officials involved. If not repudiated by Ankara NOW I propose breaking diplomatic relations. A slap at Philippine sovereignty and an attack on our territorial unity and integrity. Reek$ of $ellout,” Locsin said on Twitter.

But after a few hours, he said everything was cleared up and no diplomatic protest would be filed after talking with Turkey Ambassador to the Philippines Artemiz Sümer.

Sinarimbo said Ebrahim’s recent foreign trip was upon the invitation of the Turkey government and he secured travel authority from President Rodrigo Duterte’s office.

“Further, in all of the meetings between the Chief Minister and representatives of the Government of Turkey, the government of the Philippines was represented by the Consul General,” he said.

“It may also help the public to better understand the issue if we are to consider the substantial contribution of the Government of Turkey in the successful conclusion of the peace process that resulted in the signing of the CAB (Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro) in 2014,” the BARMM official said.

He cited that the government of Turkey played a critical role during the peace negotiations as one of the member states in the International Contact Group.

Turkey continues to play an important role in the implementation of the peace agreement as the Chairperson of the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB), which is in charge of putting the weapons of the MILF beyond use, he explained.

“Even as we speak, together with other members of the IDB, it is currently undertaking the decommissioning of 12,000 combatants of the MILF and their weapons,” he added.

Sinarimbo also said that Locsin should have utilized the Inter-governmental Relations Body (IGRB), as provided in CAB and the Bangsamoro Organic Law, in airing his concern.

IGRB is co-chaired by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Bangsamoro Minister of Basic, Higher and Technical Education Mohagher Iqbal.