Thousands participate in unity caravan for extension of Bangsamoro Transition Authority

Published June 24, 2021, 9:22 AM

by Bonita Ermac

VARIOUS groups of Bangsamoro people from the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte and the cities of Marawi and Iligan staged a unity caravan, Wednesday, June 23, to call on the government to extend the term of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) until 2025. (Bonita L. Ermac)
BALO-I, Lanao del Norte – Thousands of residents from Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte and the cities of Marawi and Iligan staged a unity caravan Wednesday, June 23, to call on the government to extend the term of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) until 2025. Organizers said at least 31,172 individuals in 6,613 vehicles joined the unity caravan in what is believed to be their final call as President Duterte is scheduled to have a meeting with leaders of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and lawmakers to decide on the fate of the term extension Thursday, June 24.

The caravan assembled at MPW Matampay and proceeded to Marawi City then to Overton, Iligan City to Linamon to Sultan Naga Dimaporo (SND) in Lanao del Norte to Malabang, Lanao del Sur and back to Marawi City.

Their manifesto of support for the BTA extension stated that because of the layers of challenges and obstacles that cannot be attributed to the BTA, there is a need to give the BTA sufficient time to completely build the BARMM and execute their commitments in relation to the peace agreements, in the implementation of its mandate, and in the strengthening of the foundation as well as the institutions of the BARMM.

Atty. Najeeb L. Taib, Moro Ako president, appealed to the national government that this extension is one step closer to solving the longstanding concerns of the Bangsamoro people. “We ask the Philippine government to be truthful, sincere, and genuine in achieving lasting peace for the Bangsamoro people. Thus, they should do their part at this crucial point and must show to the Bangsamoro people how to be true to their words and promises in finally solving the decades-old Bangsamoro problem in this country,” said Taib.

Taib also called on members of Congress to support the bills postponing the elections in May 2022 for the regional positions in the BARMM.

VEHICLES from the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte and the cities of Marawi and Iligan join a unity caravan, Wednesday, June 23, that called on the government to extend the term of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) until 2025. (Bonita L. Ermac)
A young history professor from the Mindanao State University Main Campus, Tirmizy E. Abdullah, felt that if the BTA extension is granted until 2025, he would considered it the “greatest gift” to the Bangsamoro.

“I consider this po, itong extension na ito, if it is granted is (the) greatest gift-regalo ng mga Filipino people to their Bangsamoro brothers and sisters. Or sa konteksto ng pandemic, isa po itong hindi mapapantayan na ayuda-malasakit na ayuda ng mga Pilipino o ang gobyerno ng Pilipinas sa kanilang kapatid na mga Bangsamoro (I consider this extension, if granted, as the greatest gift of the Filipino people to their Bangsamoro brothers and sisters. In the context of this pandemic, this is one valuable aid of the government to our Bangsamoro brothers),” said Abdullah in a press conference held here on June 23.

Abdullah also called on Duterte, who is from Mindanao and claimed to have ancestral connections with the Maranao people, to side with the Bangsamoro.

“Na sana po ay hindi siya maging neutral, the President will not anymore take a stand of being neutral and will certify the bill as urgent (I hope that he will not be neutral, that the President will certify the bill as urgent),” he added.

Among the leaders who joined the unity caravan were Abu Hayan from Ranao Confederation for Peace and Saksi Radio Forum; Minister of the BARMM Ministry of Health Dr. Bashary Latiph; Lanao del Sur II SDS Dr. Rubina Mimbantas; Ranao region Members of the Parliament (MP) Deputy Chief Minister Ali Solaiman, Marjanie Macasalong, Bassit Jannati Abbas, Abdullah “Bravo” Macapaar, Said Shiek, Zainodin Bato, and Jamel Macaraya.

Support was also given from areas outside the BARMM with a significant Muslim population.

In their social media page, the Bangsamoro Youth Commission reported over 19,000 participating vehicles. (with a report from Liza Abubakar-Jocson)

 
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