BARMM officials hopeful for extension of transition period
Supporters of the Bangsamoro Organic Law attend the launch of a campaign to gather 'yes' votes for the plebiscite in January 2019. A banner depicts President Rodrigo Duterte, who campaigned for its passage by Congress, asking voters to vote in favor of ratification.
The STAR/John Unson, file

BARMM officials hopeful for extension of transition period

John Unson (Philstar.com) - December 3, 2020 - 1:31pm

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Bangsamoro officials are optimistic for a three-year extension of the transition from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to the fledgling Bangsamoro autonomous government.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, local government minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said Thursday the BARMM leadership is thankful that lawmakers a helping work out the extension to 2025 of the transition process in the new region.

Rep. Esmael Mangudadatu (Maguindanao, 2nd District) filed Tuesday House Bill 8117 seeking an extension from 2022 to 2025 of the transition process for the BARMM government to fully take off.

Mangudadatu said HB 8117 also aims to reset to 2025 the regional elections in BARMM for caretaker officials to have enough time to forge ahead with the normalization agenda of the charter of the Bangsamoro region, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, or Republic Act 11054.

The BARMM government comprises 80 members of an interim regional parliament appointed last year by President Rodrigo Duterte.

BARMM’s regional charter, the RA 11054, was ratified only last January 2019 via a plebiscite in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and in the cities of Marawi and Lamitan.

The peace-building goals of RA 11054 enjoins Malacañang and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to cooperate in restoring normalcy in BARMM’s five provinces by decommissioning former MILF guerillas and by setting up a functional regional government focused on the socio-economic and political empowerment of local Muslim, Christian and Lumad sectors.

Sinarimbo, concurrent regional spokesperson, said Thursday BARMM’s chief minister, Ahod Ebrahim, and other in the Bangsamoro government were elated with Mangudadatu's initiative. 

“The proposed measure to extend the period of transition, to complete important tasks in the transition, has formally moved in the House and in the Senate,” he said.

Misuari's extension

There was a precedent in the defunct ARMM where the legislature extended for three years, on holdover basis, the 1996 to 1999 elective tenure of then Regional Governor Nur Misuari, founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front.

Misuari was allowed to stay longer in office with imprimatur from Congress to enable his administration to pursue MNLF’s peace agenda as stated in its September 2, 1996 peace pact with Malacañang.

Misuari’s having got to the helm of the ARMM, through an uncontested candidacy for ARMM regional governor in September 1996, was an apparent concession from then President Fidel Ramos.

Ramos brokered, along with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — a group of more than 50 predminantly Muslim countries, including wealthy petroleum exporting states in the Middle East and North Africa — the final peace agreement between the government and the MNLF.

Muslimin Sema, the chairman of the largest and most politically active from among two blocs in the MNLF, urged last week the national government to give the MILF three more years to establish a strong BARMM government based on the RA 11054.

The group of Sema and the MILF are helping each other address through the BARMM government the security and socio-economic issues besetting the Muslim, Christian and Lumad communities in the region.

Sinarimbo and Sema are both hopeful the measure introduced by Mangudadatu will get the nod of the House of Representatives.

“We are optimistic about that. These efforts are all meant to complement the peaceful means of addressing the decades-old Mindanao Moro issue,” Sinarimbo said. 

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