By Ali Macabalang Francis Wakefield
COTABATO CITY – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman has given the assurance about reassured the ARMM’s readiness for a smooth transition to the new geopolitical entity Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, as mandated by the recently-ratified Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
Hataman gave this assurance to Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Murad Ebrahim and Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., who both visited his office at the ARMM complex here last Wednesday.
“We must put a premium on the welfare of our people and ensure open and transparent governance if we are to build a lasting peace that benefits all,” Hataman told Ebrahim and Galvez.
The three officials traded views on appropriate steps that would lead to the harmonious operation of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) that will be constituted soon by President Duterte as caretaker body.
According to Galvez, the tripartite meeting was held to help shepherd the incoming leadership of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
“The meeting was very fruitful. Everybody is in high spirits to ensure the smooth and seamless transition from ARMM to BARMM,” Galvez said.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) officially declared the ratification of the BOL last January 26, following an overwhelming vote from residents during the January 21 plebiscite in the ARMM core areas and Cotabato City.
Another plebiscite will be held on February 6 for the possible inclusion into the BARMM of areas in Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato.
The BOL serves as the legal foundation for the establishment of the new Bangsamoro autonomous region whose government will enjoy more political powers as well as financial resources.
The landmark measure aims to address the centuries-old clamor of the Moro people to their right to genuine and meaningful self-governance.
With the BOL’s ratification, the ARMM will be abolished on June 30 this year and put an end to the terms of office of the current regional government.
The interim BARMM government will be composed of the 80-member BTA which is expected to be appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte in the coming weeks. Incumbent ARMM officials will also be part of the said transition government, until their terms expire on June 30 this year.
Galvez said the national government, through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the leadership of the ARMM, stands ready to assist in terms of capacity building to achieve good governance.
“This is part of the guidance of President Rodrigo Duterte to have a clean government and nurture good governance in the autonomous region,” Galvez said.