By Edwin Fernandez
COTABATO CITY: The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has expressed its gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for signing the legislative measure extending for three more years the transition period of the fledgling region.
“We thank President Duterte and his administration for making sure that the GPH-MILF (Government of the Philippines – Moro Islamic Liberation Front) peace process will be successful. This is our shared legacy to Mindanao and the rest of the country,” BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said in a statement on Friday evening.
The President signed Republic Act 11593 on Thursday, extending the life of the interim Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) and moving the regional elections from May 2022 to May 2025.
“We thank our dear partners and allies who stood by us during this course – to our political leaders, civil society organizations, and to every Bangsamoro who continue to believe in the spirit of our struggle,” said Ebrahim, who also heads the MILF organization.
He appealed to pessimists about the capacity of the new political entity to improve the lives of every Bangsamoro to join them in making this dream a reality for all.
“It’s time to move forward, it’s time to set aside our differences, it’s time to help one another in transforming the Bangsamoro,” Ebrahim said.
He likewise dismissed insinuations that the call for extension was aimed at extending the current appointed officials until 2025.
“The extension, as we have always said, was never and will never be about power,” he said.
Ebrahim pointed out that the establishment and triumph of the BARMM are not only directed to specific individuals or groups but the whole of Bangsamoro, especially to the next generation who will inherit the region’s future.
“The call towards the extension of the new political entity speaks the desire of our 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 any ills in government,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, BARMM’s interior minister and concurrent spokesperson, also lauded Duterte for his continuing support to BARMM.
“We thank the President for his continuing support to the Bangsamoro as he promised in our meeting in Malacañang early this week,” Sinarimbo said.
“We congratulate the Bangsamoro people who have consistently supported the leadership of the BARMM. We raise our hands in gratitude to Allah for His continuing guidance.”
He said under RA 11593, Duterte shall appoint 80 new members of the BARMM’s interim government.
Section 2 of RA 11593 states, “Provided, however, That the President may appoint the 80 new interim members of the BTA who shall serve up to June 30, 2025, or until their successors shall have been elected and qualified.”
The MILF will recommend to the President 41 parliament members while the government side will recommend 39 members.
The new law shall take effect 15 days after its publication in one or more newspapers of general circulation.
(Philippine News Agency)