COTABATO CITY: The defunct regional government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has officially handed over powers on Tuesday to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) who will run the newly created Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in interim capacity for three years or until June 2022 when the regular set of BARMM officials are duly elected and assume office.
The former ARMM governor Mujiv Hataman turned over the regional government to BARMM Interim Chief Minister Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in a symbolic and historical ceremony witnessed by Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito Galves, Jr., foreign dignitaries, the BTA members, MILF and MNLF officials and members, local government chief executives, top ranking military officials, the media and other stakeholders.
ARMM cabinet heads also turned over their respective departments to their newly designated counterparts who were named by Murad in the turnover held at the Sharief Kabungsuan Cultural Complex (SKCC).
There are nine books turned over by the ARMM government to the BTA.
Hataman has begged-off from becoming an automatic member of the BTA because of his intent to focus on serving his constituents in his hometown province of Basilan.
He said he is confident that the officials of the interim government are competent enough to continue the reforms that the Autonomous Regional Government has already started for the Bangsamoro region.
“Kung ano man ang mga trabahong hindi pa natin natatapos, tiyak kong itutuloy nila; kung ano man ang pagkukulang ng ating administrasyon, tiyak kong mapupunan nila ito.”
“Kay Interim Chief Minister Murad: Anumang oras, bukas ang pinto at telepono ko para sa iyo. Kung may maitutulong ako, sa kahit anong paraan, lalo na kung para sa ikabubuti ng Bangsamoro, isang tawag mo lang. Nandito ako para tumugon,” he added.
“Pormal ko ngayong ipinapasa ang pamunuan sa BTA sa pamumuno ni Interim Chief Minister Al Haj Murad. Pormal kong isinisara ang kabanata ng ARMM, at binubuksan ang ating bagong kabanata ng BARMM. Mabuhay ang nagkakaisang Moro. Mabuhay ang Bangsamoro. Mabuhay ang Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” Hataman said.
In his acceptance speech, Ebrahim said that BTA has positive outlook in governance. He underscored the new different enemies of the Mujahideen: these are graft and corruption, manipulation of government, nepotism, and all other ills of the government in the system.
“We acknowledge that we are now entering another level of Jihad. Our Jihad will be more intense and more challenging…this is the next jihad that we are going to quest.”
He also expressed gratitude to ARMM Governor: “I thank Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman for preparing the transition of ARMM Bureaucracy into the BTA. I’m sure, the Bangsamoro people will be very grateful for the milestones/achievement of your administration.”
“I appeal to all our people for your support. Give us the chance to turn into reality our aspirations. With this, I would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to all of those who contributed in the success of our struggle. Without your support, we will not succeed in our jihad. Our success will be seeing that good governance will prevail in our system, In Shaa Allah,” Ebrahim said.
Murad announced his line of interim cabinet ministers including BTC chairman Mohagger Iqbal as minister of education; Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo, minister of local government; Raissa Jaljurie as minister of social welfare and development, Dr. Safrullah Diaptuan, minister of health; Eduard Guerra, Finance; Mohagher Iqbal, education; Hussein Munoz, Public order and Safety; Sammy Gambar, environment and natural resources; Mohammad Yacob, Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform.
Chief Minister Murad assumed in concurrent capacity as minister of public works and highways.
The BARMM created into law by Republic Act No. 11054 also known as Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) replaced ARMM after the new law was ratified on January 21 and February 6 with a wider land and water jurisdiction, fiscal autonomy, greater share in national government resources, among others.
Based on the plebiscite results, the BARMM is composed of the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi, the three cities of Cotabato, Lamitan and Marawi, and 63 villages in North Cotabato.
The 80 members of the BTA were sworn to office by President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday. MILF chairman Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim was also appointed by the president as interim Chief Minister.
41 members were nominated by the MILF while 39 were nominated by the government. It was however reported that there were still seven slots not filled-up from the government side. It was only surmised that the vacancies are intended for the MNLF-Misuari faction.
The 23 elected ARMM officials will sit with the BTA until June 30, 2019, when their terms end.
The new Bangsamoro entity is the outcome of the MILF landmark agreement with the Philippine government signed in 2014 to end the separatist insurgency that has left some 150,000 people dead.
Under the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the ARMM will be replaced by the BARMM, with an expanded land and water jurisdiction, fiscal autonomy, increased share in national government resources, and whose form of governance is parliamentary.
By MASIDING NOOR YAHYA