Palace to study options on call for Bangsamoro transition period to be extended until 2025
Malacanang said on Thursday it will study the call of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority led by Chief Minister Ahod "Al Haj Murad" Ebrahim to extend by three years the Bangsamoro transition period, which supposedly will end in 2022.
"It's the first time that we heard this request. I'm sure the Palace will consider it and will study options," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a televised press briefing.
In a statement posted on bangsamoro.gov.ph, Jose Lorena, member of the Parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said the BTA adopted last Tuesday a proposed resolution urging the House of Representatives and the Senate to extend the Bangsamoro transition period from 2022 to 2025.
Lorena, one of the principal authors of Resolution No. 332, said the move was to provide the BTA with sufficient time to continue in performing its powers and functions, and complete its mandate.
He said the resolution was passed after Ebrahim expressed his position favoring the extension of the transition period.
Lorena, quoting Ebrahim, said he expressed support on the recommendation of the Mindanao People's Caucus on extending the transition period for another three years.
MPC, a peace advocacy group, has conducted a rapid midterm review on the Bangsamoro transition period through record reviews, key informant interviews, and focused group discussion with various stakeholders.
Ebrahim was quoted as saying that if an election will push through in 2022 in BARMM, the normalization track would be put in a sideline and not implemented .
Part of the normalization track is the decommissioning of the 40,000 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, the combatant group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front led by Ebrahim and forged a comprehensive peace agreement with the Philippine government during the Aquino administration.
Ebrahim said the initially decommissioned 12,000 BIAF combatants are yet to receive P1 million each economic package the national government has promised in exchange for them returning to civilian life.
Lorena said Resolution No. 332 also calls to extend the transition period from the League of Municipalities of the Philippines' chapter in Tawi-Tawi, Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Tawi-Tawi, and Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Maguindanao.
Like Lorena, Mohagher Iqbal, former MILF chief negotiator with the government, said the extension period that they were asking was not for their extension as parliament members.
Iqbal said a three-year transition is too short, noting that the MILF originally pushed for a six-year transition.
He stressed the importance of passing the resolution "not as a self-serving exercise but it is for our people."
Under the agreement with the government, the transition period for the BTA is up to 2022 and by that time, the first election under the Bangsamoro government would be held.
Currently, the BTA members led by Ebrahim were appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte after the Bangsamoro Organic Law was passed in July 2018 and was ratified in January 2019. Celerina Monte/DMS