Masiding Noor Yahya
MARAWI CITY: Elected leaders in Lanao del Sur are opposed to a reported move for postponement in the maiden election of Bangsamoro government officials in 2022, and want the polls held as scheduled to ensure mandate in electoral representation.
The resentment surfaced in a meeting of all 39 municipal and one city mayors convened by Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong Jr. at the provincial capitol complex here on Nov. 11 to get their reaction to a move for an extension in the interim tenure of appointed members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
The BTA is the interim governing body of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) that officially started operations March 2019 pursuant to R.A. 11054, which was enacted in July 2018.
The inaugural operation was ceremonially led in Cotabato City on March 29 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who had appointed the members of the 80-seat BTA led by interim BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim. It followed the ratification of R.A. 11054 (also known as Bangsamoro Organic Law) in January and February plebiscites that year.
Some BTA members have reportedly embarked on a subtle campaign for a postponement of the BARMM’s 1st polls to be synchronized with local and national elections in 2022. They reportedly asked Gov. Adiong’s endorsement of the purported move.
Poll postponement proponents reportedly want an extension in present BARMM interim officials’ tenure to give ample time for the implementation of the programs and projects just started by the regional government.
Gov. Adiong said all his constituent mayors expressed objection to the proposed postponement, and instead batted for the conduct of the regional election as scheduled in 2022 under R.A. 11054 in order for the electorate to vote for their representatives to the autonomous governance.
“The present members of the BTA are appointed (and) do not truly and fairly represent our people,” one mayor said.
Gov. Adiong corroborated the mayors sentiment, saying “many BTA members not only do not represent truly our people but also do not deserve to be there being not qualified.”
The 2022 polls, if held on schedule, will allow over one million voters in the component provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Marawi and Lamitan and 63 villages in North Cotabato to elect 80 members of the BARMM parliament. Parliament members will select among themselves their officials to include the chief minister and speaker, among others.
Meanwhile, it was learned that Maguindanao elected officials have endorsed to Malacanang the poll postponement move, and their counterparts in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi are reportedly in favor of postponement. (RSO)