Shukur caravan in support of BTA extension held in Lanao del Sur

ILIGAN CITY -- The United Bangsamoro Justice Party-Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte (UBJP-LDS and LDN) conducted a caravan over the weekend in support of the Senate’s and House of Representatives’ approval on third reading of Senate Bill No. 2214 and House Bill No. 10121 on the postponement of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) elections from 2022 to 2025.

The Shukur Caravan in support of BTA extension (Bonita L. Ermac)

The caravan, called Shukur (an Arabic word for "thank you") also intended to express gratitude to the supporters of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Extension, particularly the House of Representatives, the Senate, and President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Shukur caravan is different from previous ones that were held purposely to appeal for the extension of BTA to 2025.

"It's amazing, kasi pangatlong caravan na ito pero naiba ito na caravan doon sa dalawang ginawa namin. Kasi ito ay shukur, na sobrang pasasalamat namin, said Marawi Central Elementary Pilot School principal Ramla Paporo Radia. (This is our third caravan but this one is different from the previous ones because this is shukur, out of our profound gratitude,)

Deputy Chief Minister Alim Ali Solaiman said “praise be to Allah for making all of these possible. Indeed, if you are grateful, he will certainly give you more. Alhamdulillah.”

“BARMM is the product of all the collective efforts of those who have fought with and believed in our Mujahideen forefathers, together with all that they are and would have been but could not be because they chose and took a risk for this opportunity that we have now," said Solaiman.

“The passage of law that would extend BTA means a lot to us Bangsamoro people. This will mean that the lives and sacrifices of those who fought in this struggle and those who shed blood, sweat, and tears for the future generation to have a prosperous and peaceful future in a region that is fully capable of charting its own destiny will not go down the drain,” he added.

Member of Parliament Said Shiek said, “sustainable development and long-lasting peace does not happen overnight. The three-year transition period is too short for governmental reforms that will completely address and respond to the root causes of the problems in the Bangsamoro Region.

“Having said that, we are very grateful to President Duterte for certifying the BTA Extension bill as urgent, to Congress for fast-tracking the bill, and to the Bangsamoro people for their constant prayers, efforts, and untiring support,” Shiek said.

Member of Parliament Marjanie Mimbantas stated that “we see this extension as a life support to sustain the gains of peace, a vehicle to ensure that the youth of today inherits a fully enabled Bangsamoro region that can support them in their endeavors and development and help them assume their role as partners in nation-building.”

“For the Bangsamoro youth and generations to come, I am deeply grateful to His Excellency President Duterte and to the members of Congress for their undying support," said Mimbantas.

The move aims to extend the transition period of the BTA that has proven to be inadequate, especially given the current health crisis.

“It is imperative to ensure that the Bangsamoro region, with its long history of armed conflict and desire to institutionalize a culture of peace and prosperity, is able to undergo a complete and efficient transition. With the extension, the BTA will be given the chance to continue the work it has started that has paved the way for a progressive Bangsamoro,” Mimbantas added.

Thousands of vehicles joined the caravan which had two routes -- one for the 1st district which met at MPW Matampay Marawi City, proceeded down to Balo-i, Overton, Linamon, Matungao and then back to Balo-i and Marawi City; and the Second District participating vehicles that met at MPW Malabang and proceeded to Picong to SND rotonda, and then back to Picong.

Thanksgiving messages written in the tarpaulin attached to the vehicles were: Thank you Du30 for supporting BTA extension, senators and 18th Congress; Maraming salamat Pangulong Du30. ##BTAextended2025 and Tuloy ang kapayapaan sa Mindanao, and #BTAextended2025 among others.