BARMM chair asks Congress to settle term extension using Bangsamoro Organic Law | Inquirer News
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BARMM chair asks Congress to settle term extension using Bangsamoro Organic Law

/ 08:41 PM June 17, 2021
BARMM chair asks Congress to settle term extension using Bangsamoro Organic Law

FOOD SECURITY Former combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are now at the forefront of helping ensure food security in the Bangsamoro region through the survival gardens they cultivate.—PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BARMM ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY

MANILA, Philippines — Discussions about extending the term of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) should be based solely on the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which established the autonomous region, a ranking official said.

According to Ahod Balawag Al-Hadj Murad Ebrahim, who chairs both the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the term extension was never about needing more power as it was aimed to ensure that changes being implemented in the area will continue.

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Ebrahim’s statement on Thursday comes after he admitted declining a provision in Senate Bill No. 2214, which extends the term of the BTA for three more years after May 2022 and adds six more seats for MILF in the interim parliament.

This would come at the expense of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)  losing seats of representation.

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“It is about ensuring the successful implementation of the Bangsamoro peace process,” Ebrahim clarified.

“This is not just the legacy of the MILF or the Duterte Administration but the legacy of this generation and a gift to the next generations of the Bangsamoro. We cannot afford to fail them,” he added.

Calls for an extension of the BTA’s term started in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic paralyzed several government services with most authorities focusing on the health crisis and economic downturn at hand.

READ: Bangsamoro seeks 3 more years for transition

This call has gained supporters from several sectors who have attested that the BTA’s hands are tied as solving the pandemic came first — therefore relegating some of the BARMM’s programs.

READ: Moro group asks Duterte for Ramadan gift: Extend Bangsamoro transition

READ: Calls to extend Bangsamoro transition period snowball in Mindanao

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However, the calls for an extension were also marred by several controversies. Last May, hundreds marched along the streets of Zamboanga City in Zamboanga del Sur as they believe that the MNLF was being sidelined in the discussion.

READ: MNLF decries exclusion from BTA under extended Bangsamoro transition

Then, senators slammed circulating “fake” information that Christian settlers in Mindanao were losing representation to the BTA under SB No. 2214.

READ: Senators dispute ‘fake news’ on bill postponing BARMM polls

It appears, however, that differences in the Senate and House versions of the bill extending the BTA terms would be ironed out after Malacañang hosted a meeting between Congress leaders to clarify matters.

A ranking BARMM official who asked not to be named said that the consensus among senators was to align the proposed measure with the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

“There was a consensus among senators to bring the issue back to the language of the original BOL with only the date of election to be changed to veer the issue off political controversy,” the official said.

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TAGS: Ahod Balawag Al-Hadj Murad Ebrahim, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Bangsamoro Organic Law, Bangsamoro Transition Authority, BARMM, BTA, BTA term extension, MILF, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Philippine news updates, Politics
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