An official said Tuesday several legislators have supported the extension of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao government’s transition period.
At the joint meeting of the Committee on Muslim Affairs and the Special Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, Rep. Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao also said the Bangsamoro region had been transformed before the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro came to be.
“The Moro Islamic Liberation Front fought against the Philippine Government for more than four decades, and had peace negotiations with the government for 17 years before the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro was signed in 2014. It took another four years passed before the legislation of the then Bangsamoro Basic Law and now the Bangsamoro Organic Law was enacted in 2018. The people of the BARMM had overwhelmingly ratified the BOL, with their full knowledge of the interim mandate of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to prepare the new autonomous regional government for the benefit of the Bangsamoro. Thus, extending their mandate to 2025 is a realization of our promise to the Bangsamoro people,” he said.
According to Mangudadatu, chair of the House committee on peace, reconciliation and unity, it is incumbent upon the people to hold on to and appreciate what is already stipulated in the peace agreement between the government and the MILF.
“An extension of another three years of the transition period is not only justifiable, but an unavoidable necessity,” he noted.
Deputy Speaker Isidro Ungab of Davao, author of House Bill 8277, an act resetting the first regular election of BARMM under the Bangsamoro Organic Law, pushed for the extension of the BARMM transition period.
Ungab said the pandemic had greatly affected and undeniably delayed the full implementation of the BARMM Law.
“With the proposed postponement of the BARMM elections, the national government and the autonomous regional government will have more time to generate and properly allocate the needed resources, legislate on the priority codes, build bureaucracy, and set up office and other institutions for the effective functioning of government and the delivery of social services.” Ungab said.
He said the proposed extension “will enable a strong and stable regional government and economy, directed to hasten the smooth implementation of the BARMM Law and geared towards the attainment of genuine peace and development in the region.”
Rep. Datu Roonie Sinsuat Sr. of Maguindanao shared the views of Mangudadatu and Ungab. He said it was but proper to give enough and sufficient time for MILF and the national government to accomplish their respective duties included in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
“We have to understand the context and complexity of transition from ARMM to BARMM. Undeniably, the Bangsamoro Government faced multifarious issues and challenges during the first half of the transition period. In this regard, some of the timelines provided for in the Bangsamoro Organic Law are no longer realistic. This is why I am calling for adjustments in the timelines and to extend the period of transition for another three years,” he said.
Similarly, town mayors of Maguindanao are also strongly supporting the calls for the extension of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority for the delivery of its commitment under BOL, they said.