BARMM civil society groups insist on another three-year BTA extension

Rommel Rebollido

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BARMM civil society groups insist on another three-year BTA extension

TALK. Presidential Adviser on Peace Reconciliation and Unity Carlito Galvez Jr. talks to Maguindanao del Norte Governor Abdulraof Macacua and an MILF official in Camp Darapanan, Maguindanao del Norte on March 27, 2024.

Rommel Rebollido/Rappler

The League of Bangsamoro Organizations proposes the extension until 2028, which means postponing the BARMM elections again for another three years beginning in 2025

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – A coalition of civil society organizations in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has called on the government to extend the term of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) for another three years, citing unimplemented provisions of the 2014 peace deal forged by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO) proposed the extension until 2028, which means postponing the BARMM elections again for another three years beginning in 2025.

The BTA serves as the interim governing body tasked with overseeing the transition process in the BARMM until its first parliamentary elections originally set in 2022. Its term, however, was extended and the BARMM elections postponed until 2025. Its members were all appointed by the President, with 39 nominees by the government and 41 nominees from the MILF.

Mahdi Amella, LBO spokesperson, said the coalition was advocating for the extension and was preparing for a caravan-rally to bring the matter to the attention of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during his scheduled visit to Maguindanao del Norte on Monday, April 29.

Marcos is expected to visit the MILF’s Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat town and Camp Abubakar in Barira town. Now called Camp Iranun, it used to be the main camp of the MILF, and is now home to the 1st Marine Brigade.

Amella told local broadcaster Bandera News TV on Thursday, April 25, the coalition’s member organizations were mobilizing to join the rally on Monday.


Marcos Jr. has already rejected calls for another BTA term extension, according to Carlito Galvez Jr., the presidential adviser on peace, reconciliation, and unity.

Speaking during a grand iftar gathering graced by BARMM Interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim and other officials, Galvez said the president was firm in having the first regional elections in the region push through next year.

“No more extension, the six years the BTA was extended is already enough,” Galvez said.

Amella and his group, however, asserted that the BTA needs three more years because several provisions in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) have yet to be fully implemented.

Legitimacy and accountability

The scheduled 2025 elections in BARMM will end the BTA, the interim lawmaking body that was created by the CAB in March 2014.

Galvez said Marcos made it clear that “the elections need to happen to give legitimacy and accountability to officials” who will be chosen by the people.

The elections will allow voters in the region to pick their bets for the first time to serve in the BARMM parliament. Winning parliament members will vote from among themselves who will be the region’s chief minister.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is currently listing new voters in the BARMM for the 2025 polls.

In the same gathering, Ebrahim said Marcos himself told them in 2022, when they took their oath in Malacanang, that the extension that was granted “will be the last and there will be no more.”

Ebrahim said what the President said has always reminded them to prepare for the 2025 elections.

“In keeping with what the President said, we are trying our best to prepare for the elections,” he said.

But Ebrahim, who also sits as chairman of the MILF that forged the CAB with the government, said the civil society organizations “have a point in seeking an extension” of the BTA because “there are many CAB provisions that remain unimplemented.” –

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