BARMM

MILF-Salamat wing accepts Marcos’ BTA appointments but hints at becoming watchdog

Rommel Rebollido
MILF-Salamat wing accepts Marcos’ BTA appointments but hints at becoming watchdog

NEW BTA MEMBERS. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr joins top government and BARMM officials in Malacañang.

Representative Zia Alonto Adiong's Facebook page

MILF-Salamat wing chairman Abdufatah Saleh Delna tells his followers to respect Marcos' decision, but to 'remain vigilant'

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front-Salamat wing on Saturday, August 13, said it would abide by the decision of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to extend the term of Bangsamoro interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim and name other regional officials, but hinted that it would be performing a watchdog role.

MILF-Salamat wing chairman Abdufatah Saleh Delna told his followers to respect Marcos’ decision which is in line with the provisions of the MILF and the government’s peace agreement and the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

But Delna, a close aide of the late MILF founding chairman Salamat Hasim, also told members of his group to “remain vigilant and work harder in ensuring that our comrades will do what is best for Bangsamoro,” Eid Kabalu, the MILF-Salamat wing’s political affairs head, said.

Delna’s group had sought seats in the interim Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA). 

On Thursday, it sought a full accounting of billions of pesos in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) funds since 2019 and asked that its interim officials be subjected to lifestyle checks.

Marcos presided over the oath-taking of Ebrahim and his other BARMM appointees on Friday afternoon, ending speculation over Malacañang’s silence about the fate of the region’s interim officials.

The new set of BTA members is expected to hold an inaugural session at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City this week.

Ebrahim, who is also the chairman of the MILF, told local broadcaster Brigada News FM on Saturday that Marcos has shown his sincerity in pursuing the peace process in the Bangsamoro region.

He said he and officials of the Bangsamoro region would do their best to deliver what is expected of them.

Friday’s oath-taking of a new set of BTA members in Malacañang came as surprise to many. There was no announcement from Malacañang ans the BARMM before that.

Marcos presided over the oath-taking of 41 appointees recommended by the Ebrahim-led MILF, and 39 others who were recommended by other groups in the BARMM.

The new set of BTA members includes 47 who served as BARMM’s first interim officials, and 33 new members, including five who replaced officials now holding other government positions and a deceased member.

During the oath-taking, Marcos said Malacanang made sure that all BARMM sectors are represented in the BTA until the special region holds orderly elections in 2025.

Marcos said the objective is to put in place a legal framework that would ensure that the regional government would be able to function the way it should after BARMM elects its next set of leaders.

Until BARMM holds an election, the BOL provides that an interim body with executive and legislative powers would lead and govern in the special region. 

But some groups were unhappy with the new set of BTA members such as members of Marcos’ Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) who had wanted seats in the BARMM.

Former Basilan vice governor Al-Rasheed Sakkalahul, who supported Marcos’ successful presidential campaign in the BARMM, said, “Akala ko ba sama-sama tayo babangon muli. Bakit ‘yung mga tao nagsasabi magnanakaw ang mga Marcos, ang mga taong gumagastos matalo lang ang Marcos, nauna pa tumutuntong sa Malacañang, at nauna pa itinaas ang mga kamay?”

(I had thought that we would rise together. Why is it that the very people who said that the Marcoses are thieves, and who spent money to prevent a Marcos victory, are the ones who were able to set foot in Malacanang, and their hands were raised first?) – Rappler.com

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