By Masiding Noor Yahya
ILIGAN CITY – The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) will reign for another three years in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) after President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law Republic Act No. 11593 on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021.
The law, a consolidation of Senate Bill 2214 and House Bill 10121, also postponed the first regional parliamentary elections in the region and to be synchronized with the 2025 national elections.
Bangsamoro Attorney General Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba clarified that only the regional parliamentary elections are being postponed in May 2022 while the local elections for governors, mayors, councilors, and the national elections will continue as scheduled on May 9, 2022.
“There will be a change in the composition of appointed BTA members,” he added.
Under Section 2 of RA No. 11593, the current President will appoint another set of 80 BTA members but still, it shall be Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-led,” Dumama-Alba emphasized.
“We don’t want to cause confusion, and we are looking at the possibility of continuation. There is nothing prohibiting the President from appointing those who are still sitting at the moment except, of course, if they file a Certificate of Candidacy and win,” she said.
BARMM Interim Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim and chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) expressed gratitude to President Duterte for signing and approving the BTA extension.
“We thank President Duterte and his administration for making sure that the GPH-MILF Peace Process will be successful. This is our shared legacy to Mindanao and the rest of the country,” Ebrahim said.
“The call towards extending the transition period speaks the collective desire of the Bangsamoro people in making sure that we have a strong regional bureaucracy that can address our decades-long challenges and make sure that a brighter future awaits them — free from corruption, from manipulation and from any ills of government,” he added.
The Chief Minister reiterated that this extension “was and will never be about power.” The Bangsamoro Government’s establishment and triumph is for the whole of Bangsamoro, he stressed.
Furthermore, Ebrahim also acknowledged and thanked the autonomous government’s partners and allies, including the political leaders, civil society organizations, and every Bangsamoro, “who continue to believe in the spirit of their struggle.”
Legarda hails the new law
Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, principal author of the newly signed law, hailed its enactment that called for the postponement of the first BARMM regular elections to 2025, amending Section 13 Article XVI of Republic Act No. 11054, also known as the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
In a statement sent to The Ranao Star, DS Legarda said the postponement of the BARMM elections to synchronize it with the 2025 national elections would allow for the strengthening of the BARMM’s foundations for a stronger regional government and economy while also providing an adequate amount of time for the full transition of the BARMM to transpire.
The Antique lone district representative added the law will also allow the Bangsamoro Government to attend to more urgent needs of the people especially during this time of the pandemic.
“The pandemic has brought about significant challenges to socio-economic needs of our people. We have to provide quick response and quality service as we tread the path towards recovery. The approval of the measure will allow the Bangsamoro government to focus on programs and services that would usher in community development for the people of the BARMM and would ensure a more effective implementation of the programs and operations under the Bangsamoro Transition Authority,” Legarda said. (MNY)