Ebrahim hopes Duterte can sign bill extending Bangsamoro transition period
By Ella Dionisio/DMS
Bangsamoro government Chief Minister Ahod "Al Haj Murad" Ebrahim on Friday said they are hoping that President Rodrigo Duterte will be able to sign the bill extending the region’s transition period by May.
During the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) virtual Prospect Forum, Ebrahim said extending the transition period from 2022 to 2025 is needed to complete the implementation of the agreement they signed with the government.
“The call of extension is not about politics or political power… (it is) really because we see that we need this extension in order to complete the implementation of the agreement,” he said.
The extension will move the first parliamentary elections in BARMM to 2025.
The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (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.
Ebrahim said there are five bills filed in the House of Representative and two bills at the Senate seeking to amend the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
The Bangsamoro chief said the bills should be referred to the committee by January or February so a bicameral conference will be held by March.
“Then transmittal to the Senate for appropriate action if necessary and then by March also we hope to have the second reading and then the certification of the bill as urgent possible by the President,” he said.
“Then in May, we hope that it will be transmitted already to the President for his signature and publication. That is the timeline we are looking forward to,” Ebrahim added.
Ebrahim said though their timeline is very short, they are hoping that they can accomplish it.
He said setting up a parliamentary ministerial form of government under a presidential unitary system is very unique.
When asked if the local executive positions will be affected by the extension of the transition period, Ebrahim said the 2022 elections will continue.
“The extension is not for the local government. The extension is only for the transition authority," he said.
He added that even after the proposed transition period, local officials will continue to exist alongside with the Bangsamoro Parliament.
Last week, Ebrahim warned that the peace process between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MNLF) and the government might be "back to square one" if the administration failed to extend the transition period.
Duterte expressed support on the extension but he has said that the decision is with Congress which will amend the Bangsamoro Organic Law. DMS