‘No anointed bet for president yet’: BARMM chief minister

BY EDWIN FERNANDEZ

COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have not yet endorsed any presidential candidate for the forthcoming May 9 national and local polls.

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim (Photo courtesy of Bangsamoro Information Office – BARMM)

BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim issued the statement during the #LagingHandaPH program of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCCO) hosted by Undersecretary Rocky Ignacio on Wednesday morning.

“As of today, BARMM has no official anointed presidential candidate,” Ebrahim, also the MILF chairman, said.

“We have not decided as of yet who among the presidential aspirants we are going to endorse but we are inviting all the presidential candidates to come and visit us so they can present their platform of government before us,” he added.

Since the BARMM transition period was extended by the national government until 2025, there will be no elections for regional officials in reference to the region’s first regular parliamentary polls.

“BARMM as a parliamentary form of government is not included in this year’s election because the transition period is extended until 2025,” he said.

However, he said, the BARMM will be participating actively in the local elections through its political party — the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP).

“So we have candidates for local positions from provincial down to municipal levels,” he said.

Ebrahim told the #LagingHandPH program that the peace and order situation in the region remained stable although there were some “noises” that may affect the conduct of the balloting.

But Ebrahim said there is no strong evidence as of yet that isolated violent incidents happening in the region are election-related.

“We are in close coordination with the Philippine National Police in the BARMM as far as preparation for the elections is concerned,” Ebrahim said.

At the regional governance level, Ebrahim said he was in the process of reorganizing his official family after the national government extended the term of Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the region’s provisional lawmaking body, until 2025.

Ebrahim has asked all 15 ministers and 15 deputy ministers to tender courtesy resignation so he will have a free hand in choosing his official family as part of the region’s cabinet revamp.

“We are still processing it, I have accepted the resignation of two ministers, five have been reappointed. Our assessment and evaluation of their performance are going on,” he said, without revealing who will go and who will stay in his official Cabinet.

“We are already three years in this transition, we are extended for another three years so we need to revamp to effectively function as an autonomous government for the Bangsamoro,” he added.

The list of reappointed, newly hired cabinet officials, including the 80 members of parliament has been sent to the Office of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for his signature. (PNA)

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