By Ali G. Macabalang
The spokesman of the interim Bangsamoro government has bluntly rejected a move by Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman for a midterm-review on the new autonomous entity’s performance, berating it as a subtle plot to “derail” the snowballing Congressional stride to postpone the 2022 election of regional parliament members.
Regional spokesman and Local Governor Naguib G. Sinarimbo posted in Facebook on Wednesday, Jan. 27 an 8-point argument, part of which rebuked the review proposal as “a subtle strategy to delay the enactment and ultimately kill the proposed amendatory bill to extend the period of transition in the Bangsamoro.”
Sinarimbo, a lawyer, said the call for midterm review was “resorted to as a convenient excuse to silently oppose and ultimately derail the transition extension by those who do not wish to be openly seen by the Bangsamoro people as opposed to the extension of the transition period. “
His 8-point argument did not mention any name but it followed up his rebuttal published by the Inquirer.net on Jan. 25 in response to the story of the same media entity on Jan. 22 about Hataman’s call for mid-term review
Hataman had earlier urged the House of Representatives’ leadership to exercise its power of congressional oversight and make a midterm review of the implementation of R.A. 11054 and the 2014 peace agreement that brought about the creation of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in 2019.
Under R.A. 11054, known as Bangmoro Organic Law (BOL), BARMM replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which Hataman ruled as office-in-charge and later as regional governor for more than 10 years.
In the article written by Inquirer.net reporter Daphne Galvez, Rep. Hataman said he would file on Monday, Jan. 25, a resolution calling for a midterm review, amid a surge of media reports concerning the existence of five House bills – four seeking to postpone the 2022 regional poll and one extending the BARMM interim reign to 2028.
“Hindi ako (I am not) against the extension. But I feel it is not wise to blindly decide to extend without looking at the very reasons for the call of extension and present concrete plans at addressing them. Kung wala tayong malinaw na roadmap, paano natin assess kung ano ang kulang at ano ang kailangan,” Galvez quoted Hataman as explaining.
In Galvez’s Jan. 25 story, Sinarimbo argued that Congress has exercised oversight powers of review on laws only after five to 10 years of enactment, on average.
“You do not conduct a review in less than two years,” Sinarimbo pointed out.
He noted that Republic Act 6734, the first charter of the defunct ARMM, was passed in 1988, but was reviewed only after 12 years in 2000 for the passage of its amendments in R.A. 9054 in 2001.
Following is Sinarimbo’s 8-point argument as posted in Facebook on Wednesday, Jan. 27:
- The move is a subtle strategy to delay the enactment and ultimately kill the proposed amendatory bill to extend the period of transition in the Bangsamoro. The Congress barely has 30 session days before it goes on a break sometime in May of this year. When it resumes session in July it will already be pre occupied with the budget preparation for 2022 and which is an election year and this the budget is an election budget for most of the members of the Congress. The filing of Certificate of Candidacy for the May 2022 elections is this October.
- The midterm review being proposed to be undertaken by Congress at this very early stage of the transition, barely over a year only, is resorted to as a convenient excuse to silently oppose and ultimately derail the extension of the transition by those who do not wish to be openly seen by the Bangsamoro people as opposed to the extension of the transition period. The move is designed to achieve two things. First, provide a convenient excuse for every single oppositor of the extension of the period of transition now being deliberated in Congress that we cannot as yet decide on the issue of extending the transition period as there is still an ongoing mid-term review by Congress. Second, divert the ongoing hearings in Congress on the extension and refocus it on the midterm review and ultimately consume the remaining session days of Congress before it adjourns in June without passing the amendatory law to extend the period of transition.
- As explained by Secretary Dominguez during the November 23 meeting between the President and Chief Minister Ebrahim in Davao, we have a very tight schedule and we must stick to the timeline if we hope to pass the amendatory law extending the period of transition in the Bangsamoro.
- A review by Congress of the Organic Law or of the progress in the implementation of the Organic Law and of the Comprehensive Agreement in the Bangsamoro is both too early and out of tune when the parties, the MILF and the GPH have agreed that there has been delay in the implementation of both the law and the peace agreement.
- The peace agreement or CAB has established clearly the mechanisms for reviewing the progress of the implementation and these are the Peace Panels, The Joint Normalization Committee, and the Third Party Monitoring Team. These mechanisms were bilaterally agreed during the negotiations.
- The Peace Panels have agreed that the implementation both of the organic law provisions and the peace agreement have been delayed and there is a need to extend the period of transition. The TPMT while it observed that the peace process is generally on track, it already noted some delays in the implementation.
- There are already ongoing hearings on the earlier bills filed to extend the period of transition. If Congress wishes to inform itself on the status of the implementation of the law it may invite and indeed, it has already invited the peace panels, the TPMT and other relevant bodies during its hearing on the proposed amendatory bill. A separate and parallel mid-term review by Congress will not achieve anything new apart from what are already being discussed in the hearings on the extension of the transition period, accept delay.
- A comprehensive, albeit rapid review has been undertaken by an independent network of CSOs, the Mindanao Peoples Caucus and parties may avail of its findings.
- Peace processes and its implementation are always fragile. We must handle it with care if we are to ensure it succeeds. (AGM)