UN welcomes Marcos’ milestone appointment of former warring MNLF, MILF rebels to BTA

Published August 16, 2022, 9:10 AM

by Jaleen Ramos

The United Nations welcomed on Monday, Aug. 15, the appointment of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the new members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) last Aug. 12.

“On 12 August 2022, I witnessed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. administer the oath to the 80 members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) in a ceremony at Malacañang Palace,” United Nations and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez said in a statement.

“The United Nations welcomes the President’s prompt appointment of the BTA members, which indicates his prioritization of the peace process and its successful implementation.”

President Marcos, during the oath-taking ceremony, said: “In our discussions, what was important was that we were able to say that we have done our absolute best in making sure that the representation that we find in the transition authority could be as fair as possible.”

“That’s why, I will be here as the head of the national government to support BARMM in any way to get that settled and to make sure that we have an orderly and proper election in 2025, [and] upon electing our new officials that they have a legal framework to work within so that the government can actually function,” he added.

Gonzales said the composition of the BTA with newly and re-appointed members will allow a smooth transition process and continuity of BTA programs, projects, and legislative measures on the one hand.

He added it will also provide greater inclusivity representing all the major MILF and MNLF factions and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)’s diverse communities for the first time, reiterating President Marcos’ call for unity.

“Following this important milestone, the expected appointment of members to the peace process mechanisms, including the Intergovernmental Relations Body (IGRB), the Government of the Philippines Peace Panel, the Normalization Joint Task Forces and the Amnesty Commission, will also contribute to the accelerated joint implementation of the political and normalization tracks of the peace agreement,” he said.

Gonzales also welcomed the experienced and well-qualified women of the BTA.

“More women appointees here – and there are many qualified and experienced women to choose from – would also contribute to sustainable peace-building as the best peace-building practice around the world has demonstrated,” he said.

Gonzales assured that the UN and its partners remain committed to continue promoting peace in the Bangsamoro by strengthening the foundations for inclusive institutions, sustainable development, and respect and protection of human rights.

He also noted that the UN’s support to BARMM consists of more than 10 resource partners.

These include the UN Peacebuilding Fund, as well as joint work and coordination with the Office of Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity which has significantly contributed to the consolidation of peace efforts in the region.

Last year, the UN system represented by 15 agencies and more than 200 staff members in BARMM, provided direct support and technical assistance to relevant government agencies through projects in Marawi City, Cotabato City, the “SPMS Box,” Butig, Malabang, Lamitan City, Jolo, Bongao, Upi, South Upi, and Talayan, among others.

In November 2021, the deployment of an Area Coordinator to Cotabato formally established the UN’s Joint UN Coordination Office in BARMM, and will reinforce the UN’s work in the region.

“The UN congratulates all the national and local stakeholders who have contributed to this important milestone and looks forward to supporting the joint implementation of the political and normalization tracks of this landmark Bangsamoro peace agreement.”

 
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