MANILA, Philippines – Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim is amenable to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol's appointment as President Rodrigo Duterte's "point person" for the Bangsamoro region.
Duterte said Murad expressed his agreement with the arrangement during their meeting on Wednesday, July 10, in Malacañang.
"Yes," said Duterte when asked if Murad agreed with Piñol's designation.
"The truth of the matter is I really transferred Piñol to asist them. Hindi naman to husband the – nandiyan na 'yan pero wala akong point man doon (Not to husband the – it's already there but I don't have a point man there)," said Duterte.
There was no mention of Piñol's specific position. But previously, Duterte said he wanted to make Piñol Mindanao Development Authority chief, a position with Cabinet rank. The MinDA is an agency of the national government and not of the BTA.
Murad had admitted in past remarks that Piñol was not well-liked among the Bangsamoro people because of his opposition to an earlier agreement forged by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) with the government.
Even some members of the BTA had their misgivings about Piñol.
Duterte had supposedly given Murad his assurance that Piñol will not interfere in the workings of the BTA and that he would only be an extension of Duterte's own supervisory role. A point person, said Duterte, would help keepi him updated of any BARMM concerns.
A source present at the meeting also said Duterte and Murad agreed to create an intergovernmental relations body, a body created by the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
The body is supposed to "coordinate and resolve issues on intergovernmental relations through regular consultation and continuing negotiation in a non-adversarial manner," reads Section 2 of BOL's Article VI.
During the meeting, Murad presented to Duterte his 12 Cabinet members or ministers. Also present at the meeting were Piñol and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.