Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Interim Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim on Friday, October 29, hailed President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of a law that postpones the elections in the region for three years.
Duterte has signed Republic Act No. 11593, moving the BARMM elections and extending the term of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) to 2025.
The new law allows the next President to appoint the next set of BTA members.
Murad welcomed the move, saying that extending the transition period of the BARMM was the “desire of our people in making sure that we have a strong regional bureaucracy that can address our decades-long challenges and make sure that a brighter future awaits them – free from corruption, from manipulation, and any ills of government.”
He added: “This extension, as what we have said, was never about power. The establishment and the triumph of the BARMM are not only directed to specific individuals or groups but the whole Bangsamoro, especially for the next generations that will inherit whatever we leave them during this transition period.”
BARMM Cabinet Secretary Asnin Pendatun said the signing of the new law was “a crucial step” in sustaining the gains of the peace process.
RA 11593 is an amendment to the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which provided that the first election for BARMM officials would be synchronized with the national elections in May 2022.
With this, the Bangsamoro elections would now be synchronized with the 2025 national elections.
The law also gives Duterte’s successor the power to appoint the 80 BTA members.
The BTA members’ terms expire on June 30, 2022, the same day that Duterte would step down.
Since the new law amended only a clause in the Bangsamoro Organic Law related to the BARMM elections, the provision that the BTA should be led by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF stays.
“This is our shared legacy to the people of Mindanao and the rest of the country,” said Murad as he called on the people of BARMM “to set aside differences, move forward, and help one another in transforming the Bangsamoro.” – Rappler.com
Rommel Rebollido is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.