More groups urge postponement of 2022 BARMM polls

John Unson - Philstar.com
More groups urge postponement of 2022 BARMM polls
The regional capitol in Cotabato City of the still 27-month Bangsamoro government, a product of 22 years of peace talks between the Malacañang and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Officials were elated with what is for them mounting public support to efforts of resetting to 2025 next year’s supposed first ever Bangsamoro regional elections.

Leaders of indigenous non-Moro tribal communities took turns expressing favor, during a forum last Friday, for the deferment of the 2022 pioneering elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The move is meant to extend for three more years the tenure of the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority, or BTA, also known as the interim BARMM parliament, to enable the bloc and officials of newly created regional agencies to put up service facets essential to good governance.

Bangsamoro Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, regional spokesperson, said Sunday they are grateful to sectors overtly in favor of the postponement of the 2022 BARMM elections.

Leaders of indigenous people from Maguindanao and parts of Lanao del Sur explained one after another, during their gathering on Friday, that the 2019 to 2022 transition, from the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to the now 27-month BARMM, is not enough.

Tribal leaders said the COVID-19 pandemic stymied the three-year transition process.

“We are thankful to these communities. They know what is needed for the peace and development thrusts of BARMM to fully take off,” Sinarimbo said.

The creation of BARMM via a plebiscite in the core territory of ARMM then was premised on two compacts between Malacañang and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front — the 2012 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.

North Cotabato Vice Gov. Emmylou Taliño Mendoza reiterated on Sunday the support of their Sangguniang Panlalawigan for attempts to obtain congressional imprimatur for the postponement of next year’s BARMM regional polls.

North Cotabato is under Administrative Region 12 but there are 63 barangays in the province now under the Bangsamoro region after residents voted in favor of the inclusion of their villages into BARMM’s core territory during a plebiscite in 2019.

“We have passed an SP resolution towards that goal. We want the BARMM government to become strong. More time is needed for its officials to fully set up up all mechanisms for good governance,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said she is thankful to the BARMM government, particularly to its public works ministry, for having started its multi-million road projects connecting the 63 BARMM barangays in North Cotabato to trading hubs in different parts of the province.

“The BARMM government needs enough time to accomplish its infrastructure projects in these 63 barangays,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said she was elated with the mounting cross-section cooperation in securing an extension for three more years of the BTA’s three-year tenure.

Mayor Marshall Sinsuat of Datu Blah Sinsuat town in Maguindanao said Sunday he and his constituent leaders are optimistic the House of Representatives and the Senate will accede to clamors for the resetting to 2025 of BARMM’s 2022 elections.

There is a pending bill now in Congress, a proposed enabling measure, for the postponement of the electoral exercise.

“We wish for the postponement of the 2022 elections in BARMM,” Sinsuat told reporters via online Messenger Sunday.

The Datu Blah municipal council was the first in Maguindanao to draft a resolution urging Malacañang and Congress to extend for three more years the term of BARMM’s interim parliament.

The BTA, or regional parliament, is led by an appointed chief minister, Hadji Ahod Ebrahim, who is chairman of the MILF’s central committee.

“We can’t thank enough the sectors helping us make the legislature understand why we need this extension,” Sinarimbo said.

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