Fight for seats in Bangsamoro transition body starts
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines — With the parliamentary election in the Bangsamoro postponed to 2025, the jockeying for appointment to the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) has begun.
Apart from resetting the regional polls, Republic Act No. 11593, which President Duterte signed on Oct. 28, provides him the power to appoint new BTA members.
“There will be new appointments; it is the prerogative of the President,” Bangsamoro Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal, who is also chair of the peace implementing panel of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), told the Inquirer.
But Iqbal clarified that the MILF would continue to lead the BTA, in keeping with the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), the charter of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) which was ratified and took effect on Jan. 25, 2019.This means the MILF will nominate 41 of 80 BTA members, and the chief minister, which the BOL decrees will be appointed by the President, will come from its nominees, Iqbal added.
MILF, gov’t appointees
The current BTA is composed of 41 nominees from the MILF and 39 from the government. The seats for government nominees are normally subject to intense jockeying, based on the experience of establishing the BTA in 2019. The seats for MILF nominees are decided by its central committee.
At the height of the lobbying for the bill postponing the regional election, a prospective formula for allocation of these seats was discussed in the Senate giving key local officials of the BARMM, mainly the provincial governors of Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao, the power to nominate appointees.
Sultan Kudarat Gov. Suharto Mangudadatu has publicly expressed interest in being appointed BARMM interim chief minister in the extended transition period.
Mangudadatu did not file his candidacy for reelection and transferred his voter registration to Datu Abdullah Sangki town, Maguindanao. He instead endorsed his son, Pax Ali, to run for governor.
—WITH A REPORT FROM EDWIN O. FERNANDEZ
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