Cotabato City— Two Philippine senators appeared to hold common views on the issue of extending the three-year term of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority during the culmination here Friday of the Bangsamoro Governance Summit.
Lawyer Salvador Panelo, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, delivered the message of Senator Lawrence Christopher Go, saying in Filipino that “the success of the Bangsamoro is also the success of the Filipino Nation.”
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri also announced in the same event that the upper chamber is currently on final deliberations to pass Senate Bill (SB) 2214 “in a month’s time” to extend the BTA term from May 2022 to June 2021.
Go, perceived to have had reservations on the BTA extension, has expressed optimism in working for the success of the Bangsamoro governance.
Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Al-Hadj Murad Ibrahim had earlier opened in Basilan the week-long consultation-series for local government units (LGUs) region-wide to take part in community-based planning sessions with top government agencies of BARMM.
Regional Speaker Ali Pangalian Balindong said the Bangsamoro Parliament officially accepted in full-session technical feedbacks from BARMM Executive’s planning and consultation-series to determine the state of community development in-aid of Budget legislations towards establishing a Bangsamoro Moral Governance.
Minister Naguib Sinarimbo of the BARMM Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) said the idea is to bring development planning on programs and projects as well as the proposed utilization of public funds closer to awareness and welfare of communities affected by decades of armed conflict.
“We, in the senate, are in the final stages of passing the Bill, postponing the BARMM elections, so that you will be able to deliver your promises to our people of this elusive peace and prosperity. In Shaa Allah, within a month’s time, we will get it done,” Zubiri told regional officials via Zoom during the Bangsamoro Governance Summit on July 23.
Speaking on Zoom, Zubiri lauded the Bangsamoro Government in its series of consultation across the region in order to assess its governance and the needs of its constituents.
“I am very happy to see that despite the challenges of this pandemic, the BTA and our LGUs are able to hold much-needed consultations to identify the needs of our people,” he said.
“These consultations are necessary for the BTA to successfully parlay BOL-mandated budget into meaningful programs and projects that will really reach our people in the grassroots level,” the Senator added.
The Senate Majority Floor Leader underscored major programs and projects of BARMM, noting that about Php33-Billion out of Php80-Billion block grant has been dedicated to social services such as education, health, indigenous people’s affairs, which indicates that BARMM is “really prioritizing socio-economic uplift of the people.”
Zubiri added that developing industries and uplifting the lives of the people will eliminate causes of violence, insurgencies, and war.
“I am very glad that BARMM is investing a lot in education, a large Php25.3-Billion for this year alone. And I know that Php19-Billion is allocated to economic services like public works, agriculture, and fisheries, and transportation and communication—sectors that are really crucial for the development of the region,” Zubiri said.
Zubiri reiterated his support to the interim Bangsamoro Government, saying: “I am always here as your ally, a fellow Mindanaon, who believes in the just and lasting peace that you all are striving for. I am ready to offer all the help that I can give to my Bangsamoro brothers and sisters.”