New BTA unites former warring MILF, MNLF rebels | Inquirer News

New BTA unites former warring MILF, MNLF rebels

By: - Contributor / @inquirerdotnet
/ 11:36 PM August 14, 2022
Ferdinand Marcos and new BTA members

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. addresses the new members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority in Malacañang Palace on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (Photo from his Facebook account)

MANILA, Philippines — Last Friday, Aug. 12, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. led the oath-taking of the new members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the interim government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

What was not given prominence in the reports of the event was that the new BTA finally united the former warring members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) under one Bangsamoro autonomous government.

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“The fact that the unity between the MNLF and MILF happened under the present administration is an indication that President Marcos’ call for unity is being heeded by the former Moro rebel groups,” Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said on Sunday.

Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr., who heads the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPPRU), also praised the president for making the Bangsamoro a top priority of his administration.

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“It has been a long time since the MNLF and the MILF have split. But under the Marcos administration, they are one in pushing for sustainable peace and development in the Bangsamoro,” Galvez said as he emphasized the inclusion of both MNLF and MILF members in the BTA.

Appointed by the president, the BTA is an 80-member governing body tasked with passing crucial laws that would authorize the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to exercise legislative and executive powers during the region’s transition period.

The BOL specifies that the MILF will lead the BTA, without prejudice to the participation of the MNLF.

The BTA’s 41 members will be nominated by the MILF, while the remaining 39 members will be endorsed by the government of the Philippines.

“With the joining of the MNLF and the MILF, and with the balanced and equitable composition of the 39 GPH nominees… this is now no longer just the BTA of the old BARMM but the BTA of a United BARMM,” Galvez said.

The participation of the MNLF, under the leadership of Chair Nur Misuari, is a product of the convergence effort of the OPAPRU to harmonize the Bangsamoro peace agreements — the 1976 Tripoli Agreement, the 1996 Final Peace Agreement, and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

Among the new members of the BTA are Abdulkarim Misuari and Nurrheda Misuari, Misuari’s son and daughter.

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“The joining of the MNLF of Chair Nur Misuari with the MILF-led BTA is auspicious and heralds a significant step towards unity in the BARMM,” Galvez pointed out.

The ratification of the BOL (Republic Act No. 11054) through a plebiscite held in 2019 paved the way for the creation of the BARMM and the establishment of the BTA.

In 2021, former President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11593 that postponed elections in BARMM that were scheduled to be held this year and, consequently, extended the transition period of the BTA to 2025

In his speech in Malacanang Friday, Marcos said the extension of the BTA’s term of office from 2022 to 2025 was meant to give the body more time to complete its tasks under the BOL.

“We are given another chance…but we have three years and it is not a long time for this rather basic, fundamental, and highly important pieces of legislation that have to be produced now by the Transition Authority. I’m specifically referring to fiscal policy. You have to define taxation and fiscal policy, and how they are going to be defined and what are the rules to be followed,” Marcos said.

The chief executive stressed that the BTA would have to pass the Electoral Code within the extended transition period.

“We have to finish the Electoral Code by 2025 because after 2025 we will no longer have any extensions … and we will conduct elections. We must have very clear rules on the conduct of those elections,” he said.

The BTA has yet to come up with and pass priority measures that would include the Bangsamoro Local Government Code, the Electoral Code, the Revenue Code, and the Indigenous Peoples’ Code.

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Bangsamoro Transition Authority, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
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