Bangsamoro Transition Authority to formally takeover BARMM on Feb. 26
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-led Bangsamoro Transition Authority will formally take over the leadership of the newly-established Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao next week.
In an interview in Malacanang before the formal oath taking of the members of the BTA, Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF peace implementing panel, said the formal turnover from Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to BARMM will take place in Cotabato City on February 26.
"That's when we can say BTA is officially activated already. There will be a formal ceremony for that," he said.
Hours before the formal oath taking of the BTA members, the government and the MILF failed to release the members of the 80-man BTA.
He said the composition of the BTA is not necessarily the 80 members who would be appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte and the incumbent elected officials of ARMM because some of the current regional officials would run for the May elections.
Sukarno Pinguiaman, a former commander of the Moro National Liberation Front, said they were invited in the oath-taking ceremony.
But he was not aware who among the MNLF would be members of the BTA.
Of the 80 BTA members, 41 have been recommended by the MILF, while 39 would come from the government.
Any MNLF nominee to the BTA would come from the government.
Commander Bravo, first time in Malacanang
Abdurahman Macapaar, alias Commander Bravo, is a member of the BTA.
He was one of the MILF commanders who led the attack on civilian communities in Lanao del Norte in August 2008 after the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain, the supposed first peace deal between the government and the MILF.
Asked by Manila Shimbun if he was happy that what they have been fighting for might soon be achieved, he said, "of course, of course."
Macaapar could hardly be interviewed as his two apparent MILF bodyguards were determined to shoo the media away.
He said it was his first time to set foot in Malacanang, the seat of power.
Near the Gate 4 of Malacanang where guests were entering, some of the members of the Presidential Security Group were seen wearing their urban warfare uniform, which was not their usual outfit. Celerina Monte/DMS