By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL
A Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with the House of Representatives and some officials from national agencies was held Tuesday, Jan. 12 to tackle Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (BARMM) push for Bangsamoro transition extension from 2022-2025.
Among the agenda discussed include the status of the interim government, challenges and opportunities during the transition period, navigating the realizations of key provisions of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, and harmonizing the bills filed for the BTA extension.
Moreover, possible collaborations between the Bangsamoro Government, the legislative and executive wings of the national government to assure the fulfilment of the GPH-MILF Peace Process was considered during the FGD.
BARMM’s Attorney General lawyer Sha-Elijah Dumama-Alba underscored salient points why the Bangsamoro Government is pushing for the transition period extension after a third party Civil Society Organization conducted a rapid mid-term assessment of the transition back in October 2019.
Alba stressed in order to sustain the gains of peace process, the interim government seeks to put in place a bureaucracy that is fully operational, responsive, and appropriate for the peculiar needs of the Bangsamoro people.
She emphasized that the drive for extending the transition period is not about clinging on to power, but to give sufficient time to put in place the normalization and peace-keeping process.
“The ultimate goal is for the BARMM to be ready for whoever is going to compose the regular Bangsamoro Government when the time comes,” Alba stressed.
Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary Wilben Mayor from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said although the Bangsamoro Government has been able to formulate its development plan, its implementation would need to go beyond a three-year period so that the evidence of economic development will be enjoyed by the Bangsamoro people.
“Rest assured that the OPAPP will support this initiative as well as provide the technical and administrative support. The success of the Bangsamoro Government will also be the success of the national government and the whole Filipino nation,” Mayor said.
Congressman Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, who filed the House Bill 8117 last Dec. 1, 2020 supporting the transition extension, urged the Congress to give full support with the bill.
“Sa lahat ng aking mga kasamahan sa kongreso, bigyan natin ng full support itong extension ng BTA, dahil ang mag-aani nito ay hindi po tayo, kundi ang ating mga kababayan sa Southern Philippines (lalo na sa Bangsamoro) na nanggangailangan ng maayos na pamumuhay,” Mangudadatu said.
Substantially, all of the committees (Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, Committee on Muslim Affairs, and Special Committee on Peace Reconciliation and Unity) reassured their support to the transition period extension.
The Bangsamoro Government was represented by Attorney General Alba, Cabinet Secretary Moh’d Asnin Pendatun, Bangsamoro Development and Planning Authority Director General Mohajirin Ali, Chief of Staff Alvin-Yasher Abdulgafar, and Bangsamoro Information Office Executive Director Ameen Andrew Alonto.
Office and Staff of Congress, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs, and Department of Finance were also present during the consultation. JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL