Peace adviser throws support behind extension of BARMM transition gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. on Friday expressed “full support” to the proposed extension of the transition period of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) until 2025.
Galvez, who is also concurrently the vaccine czar, said this during Friday’s hearing of the Senate local government committee, which is tackling two bills seeking to postpone the first BARMM parliamentary elections set in 2022 to the year 2025.
“The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process would like to reaffirm its position supporting the call for the extension of the term of the [BARMM] interim government until 2025,” Galvez said.
“We are pleased to note that this is also the same position of the other members of President [Rodrigo] Duterte’s Cabinet who have thrown their full support behind the extension,” he added.
The bills being tackled during the hearing seek to amend the Bangsamoro Organic Law, enacted in 2018, to replace the year of the first regular election in order to give the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) “ample time” to perform its mandate.
The BARMM was established in 2019 after a two-part plebiscite, replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“While the [BARMM] interim government has done a remarkable job which such a short period of time, we believe that the three-year transition period is still not enough to accomplish what it has set to do and also with the delimiting factors that has beset by COVID-19, their three years was cut into only one,” Galvez went on.
“Since its creation, the BARMM leadership has been faced with a formidable task of establishing a responsive and fully functioning bureaucracy that reflects the ideals aspiration of the Bangsamoro people for moral governance,” he added.
According to Galvez, the COVID-19 pandemic “adversely affected” the BARMM interim government’s timetable for the transition’s normalization program.
“There is no one to blame for a situation we are facing now, however, we must emphasize that the implementation of these interventions is a shared responsibility of the national government and the BARMM government,” he said.
“We must look at the bigger picture and by doing so we will realize that the extension will far outweigh whatever impact this may have later on,” he added.
Galvez stressed the need to give BARMM’s interim government to “lay the foundations of an inclusive, people-centered and accountable bureaucracy and more importantly deliver on its commitment to the Bangsamoro people.”
“The only way we believe this is possible is for the honorable members of this body to favorably consider our proposal to extend the term of the regional government for another three years,” he said.
“An opportunity missed is an opportunity lost and I believe this is an opportunity that we have to give to the Bangsamoro people, we have negotiated for more than 17 years what they’re asking is only three years for the transition,” he added.
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