By Ali G. Macabalang
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governance has set various events marking its second year foundation anniversary, kicking off convergent commemorative activities on Monday, Jan. 18 inside the BARMM regional complex here.
Official program schedules showed that commemoration events will last until Jan. 21, reckoning the date when the R.A. 11054 was ratified in a plebiscite two years ago by voters in the component areas of now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan.
There was no indication of separate celebration on the actual establishment of the BARMM governance. President Duterte, who signed into the edict – known also as the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) – in July 2018, inaugurated on March 29, 2019 the operations of the 80-seat Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the interim governing body of BARMM.
Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim led a team, including Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, in a trip to Manila in what was believed to be part of inviting national officials to grace the four-day fete. The 2nd annual fete will be better than last year’s, which BARMM officials made simple sans fanfares to focus efforts and resources to relief services in the onslaught of COVID-19 pandemic, sources said.
The Jan. 18 kickoff events will start at 7a.m. with the simultaneous hoisting of the National and BARMM flags at the open foreground of the Executive Building inside the regional government here.
Regional Executive Secretary and Environment Minister Abdulraof “Sammy Gambar” Macacua will deliver a welcome address, preceding the sounding of gong by CM Ebrahim assisted by BARMM Wali Khalifa Nando and key BTA members to signify the formal start of festive events.
Ebrahim, assisted by Macacua, will also lead a symbolic relief goods distribution and launch of regional vehicles and equipment (including a speedboat) acquired by the BARMM governance to address disaster incidents.
The chief minister alongside Minister Sinarimbo will sign memorandums of agreement on support infra projects with the elective executives of Maguindanao province and the component towns of Talayan, Sultan Kudarat, Datu Blah Sinsuat and South Upi.
The MOA signing ceremony will precede a press conference at the Badjao Hall adjacent to the chief minister’s official residence.
The first festive day will culminate in the afternoon with the conduct of BARMM’s 1st Council of Leaders’ meeting to be facilitated by officials allied with the Inter-Governmental Relations Body (IGRB), a group tasked to oversee smooth devolution of national line agencies’ functions and assets to the regional bureaucracy.
Journalists and observers were reportedly excited to succeeding days of commemoration, during which Governors mamintal “Bombit” Alonto-Adiong Jr. of Lanao del Sur, Hadjiman Hataman-Salliman of Basilan and Sakur Tan of Sulu would deliver the speeches in the mornings of Jan. 19 and 20, according program schedules from the BARMM’s Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO).
According to published reports, Governors Adiong, Hataman and Tan as well as their constituent-mayors had earlier aired resentment to the call for extension in the BTA transition period from 2022 to 2025. Four bills have been filed at the House of Representatives to authorize the extension.
The attendance of the three governors would signify a change in their stance towards the extension call.
Governors Mariam Mangudadatu of Maguindanao and Yshmael Sali of Tawi-Tawi, who were said to be openly supportive of the extension proposal, alongside North Cotabato Nancy Catamco would also deliver messages in the last two days of celebration, the BIO-supplied program schedules showed.
The final festive day, Jan. 21, would be graced by OPAPP Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, DILG Sec. Eduardo Ano, DBM Sec. Wendel Avisado , and DOF Sec. Sonny Dominguez alongside Undersecretary David Diciano, according to the BIO schedules.
Some senators and members of the House of Representatives, including Maguindanao Rep. Esmael Mangudadatu and other authors of transition-extending bills, were invited also to the celebration, it was learned. AGM