Marawi crisis spokesman Zia Alonto Adiong named BTA member

MANILA, Philipines – Marawi crisis spokesman and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong has been named a member of the Bangsamoro interim government.

Adiong's full name, Ziaurrahman Adiong, appeared in a list of new presidential appointees sent by Malacañang to media on Tuesday, August 20. He is identified as a new member of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

Adiong told Rappler he got a call from the Palace a week ago informing him that his appointment had been signed. It was signed on August 13, according to the Palace appointees list.

With Adiong's appointment, Duterte would have to name 3 more government-nominated BTA members.

Out of the total 80 target BTA members, 41 were nominated by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and named by Duterte. The government was supposed to nominate the remaining 39. 

But when the Palace released the names of the first batch of BTA members in February, there were only 76. The government was unable to name 4 members at the time.

Since that time, two BTA members nominated by the MILF have passed away – MILF leader Ghazali Jaafar and lawyer Abdul Dataya.

Jaafar's seat in the BTA was given to his son Mudjib Abu in May. The MILF had nominated Abdullah Hashim, Dataya's nephew and the son of MILF founder Hashim Salamat, to replace Dataya.

BTA Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim told Rappler they would nominate Hashim.

"He is a senior engineering student. That's the eldest son [of Hashim Salamat], to replace his uncle who passed away," Murad said on August 9.

With Adiong's appointment, the BTA membership remains at 76 since Dataya's replacement and the appointment of 3 other government-nominated members had yet to be finalized.

New SEC commissioner, other officials

Also in the list of new appointees is Karlo Bello, former agrarian reform undersecretary who will now serve as commissioner for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

His appointment was signed on August 13.

The Department of Agriculture is also getting a new undersecretary, Ernesto Gonzales, while the Office of the Cabinet Secretariat has a new "assistant Cabinet secretary," Ricky dela Torre. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

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 pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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