Half a million online signatories urge Duterte to extend Bangsamoro transition
KORONADAL CITY –– At least half a million people have signed as of Tuesday an online petition asking President Duterte to certify as a priority bill the extension of the Bangsamoro transition by another three years.
The petition, launched Feb. 10 in Duterte’s hometown of Davao City, aims to gather one million signatures.
As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, 536,460 people supported the campaign initiated by the Civil Society Organizations Movement for Moral Governance.
The Bangsamoro Transition Authority has earlier sought the extension to give it time to accomplish the milestones defined in the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the charter of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The extension was also the top recommendation of the midterm review done by the nongovernment Mindanao People’s Caucus (MPC) on the first 18 months of the transition.
Extending the transition would require postponing the 2022 regional election to 2025. Two bills on the subject are pending in the Senate while four in the House of Representatives.
The House started committee hearings on Feb. 16, while the Senate’s will be on March 3.
Lawyer Mary Ann Arnado, MPC secretary-general, said the president’s certification of the pending bills as urgent would hopefully hasten the legislative process and ensure that the measure is mustered into law before the Second Regular Session of the 18th Congress adjourns sine die on June 5.
Arnado noted that Congress has only 27 session days remaining before June 5.
“We are running out of time… We only have a limited window until June 4. It is crucial that the President certify as urgent the measures seeking the extension of the transition period in the BARMM so that Congress will fast track their work on the matter,” she said in a virtual presser.
“We appeal to you, Mr. President, to certify the extension bill(s) as urgent and allow the transition period to succeed in the larger context of the peace process,” read the text of the online petition.
Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan has opposed the extension of the transition period in the BARMM while Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, former governor of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, has asked for a review of the accomplishments of the BARMM government as a precondition for discussing the proposal.
Tan has said the people of Sulu want an election to be held next year for the region’s next set of leaders.
But Ustadz Juhan Alihuddin, a Tausug representing the Save Sulu Movement, belied the claims of Tan that “the people in Sulu” do not want the transition period extended.
“In the past three weeks, we have gathered 20,000 signatures in Sulu for our online campaign for the extension of the transition period in the BARMM,” he said in the virtual presser.
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