MNLF decries exclusion from BTA under extended Bangsamoro transition
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga del Sur — Hundreds of men and women in Tuburan town, Basilan province marched on the streets on Thursday to protest the alleged attempt in the Senate to sideline the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the interim Bangsamoro government in the event that the transition period is extended by another three years.
With masks covering half their faces, the protesters decried Senate Bill (SB) 2214 which, they said, could deprive the MNLF of seats in the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
“Don’t forget, we in the MNLF are also part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM),” one protester told the Inquirer when asked what message they would like to bring to legislators.
The Senate plenary is currently deliberating the proposal to postpone the election for BARMM officials in 2022 to give way to an extended transition up to 2025.
Up for consideration is the substitute bill that consolidated the two versions of the proposal and the inputs from resource persons during deliberation at the committee on local government chaired by Sen. Francis Tolentino.
Under SB 2214, the 80 BTA seats will be apportioned in the following manner: 47 for nominees of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF); 24 for nominees of the provincial governors of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Sultan Kudarat (at four each); 3 for nominees of Marawi and Cotabato cities, and the combined 63 villages of Cotabato province that joined the BARMM in the 2019 plebiscite; and six for representatives of indigenous peoples and some sectors.
The proposed allocation, according to MNLF vice chair Hatimil Hassan, leaves no room for the group to be part of the BTA.
The current BTA has nine members who were nominated by the MNLF.
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