ZAMBOANGA CITY – President Duterte has reportedly expressed full support for the proposal of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region In Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) government to extend the Bangsamoro transition period from 2022 to 2025.
This was disclosed by BARMM Spokesperson Naguib Sinarimbo, who said on Saturday, November 28, that the President believed thatthe three-year transition period for BARMM was “too short” in order to implement the transition priorities and mandates.
Sinarimbo said BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Al-Haj Murad” Ebrahim met with President Duterte earlier in Davao City to talk about the Bangsamoro Government’s accomplishments and challenges in the transition period.
Sinarimbo explained President Duterte’s support to the transition extension was based on his Cabinet members’ assessment that there have been delays in the implementation of the organic law and the normalization track, thus a longer period of time was needed to complete the transition.
“Malinaw po ang posisyon ni Pangulo na nag-a-agree siya na […] ‘yung natitirang panahon na sobra isang taon lamang ay hindi kasya para tapusin yung mga mahahalagang bagay na kailangan mabuo at maipatupad sa loob ng transition,” Sinarimbo said.
Several components of the peace agreement between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have yet to be realized in the transition period of 2019 to 2020.
Sinarimbo said key transition activities, that included decommissioning of combatants was far from being finished after only 12,000 of 40,000 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) have so far been decommissioned.
Automatic release of the annual block grant, camps transformation, organization of Joint Peace and Security Teams, and enactments of Bangsamoro priority codes and legislation, among others, were also some of the issues that needed to be addressed.
Sinarimbo, who is also the current minister of the Interior and Local Government (MILG), said that only the regional elective positions will not be put into 2022 polls should the extension push through.
Elective posts in the local government units in the region, Sinarimbo added, will not be affected such as governors, district representatives, mayors, and councilors by the transition extension.
He emphasized that extending the transition period will not automatically mean the extension of terms of the incumbent members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament.
“Ang pinaka importante po rito ay maextend ang period of transition, at hindi po ito panawagan para manatili sa pwesto ‘yong mga tao (members of Parliament),” Sinarimbo explained.
President Duterte was reportedly accompanied by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, and Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. in the meeting in Davao City.
On Nov. 17, the BTA Parliament adopted Resolution No. 332, urging the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines to amend the provision of Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) or the Republic Act 11054 to extend the transition period to 2025.