Lamitan City, capital of Basilan, covers 45 barangays that are home to mixed Muslim and Christian settlers. Unson
Lamitan urges Palace to allow another representative to transition body
John Unson ( - March 23, 2019 - 12:18pm

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Lamitan City residents again urged Malacañang on Saturday to accommodate one representative for their 45 vote-rich barangays to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

Lamitan City, capital of Basilan, has more than 60,000 mixed Muslim and Christian voters who voted for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) during the January 21 plebiscite for its ratification in the provinces of the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The BOL paved the way for ARMM’s replacement with a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or BARMM, via a transition process now being facilitated since last month by the BTA.

Lamitan City Vice Mayor Roderic Furigay said Saturday their barangay captains were hopeless already about having a representative to the BTA until they learned this week that there are three slots open yet in the government bloc in the transition group.

“We drafted resolutions last February urging President Rodrigo Duterte and his peace process adviser, retired Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., urging them to consider our wish to have one representative to the BTA,” Furigay said.

Furigay said it was from people close to the president that he and his constituent-barangay leaders learned about the three still vacant positions in the BTA.

“We are hoping it is true. People in Lamitan City are praying hard to have one representative to the BTA because the city is the capital of Basilan and our provincial capitol would soon be transferred to our very progressive Barangay Santa Clara,” Furigay said.

More than half of the 80-member BTA are from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The BTA is led by MILF’s figurehead, Hadji Murad Ebrahim, who is also appointed chief minister of the newly-established BARMM.  

The BTA shall oversee BARMM’s operation until regular officials are elected during the 2022 elections.

“This transition process is very crucial. We in Lamitan City want to help and that can only be possible if we have a representative to the BTA,” Furigay said.

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