COTABATO CITY: Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) adopted Resolution 332 urging the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines to extend the Bangsamoro transition period from year 2022 to 2025.
According to member of the parliament Jose Lorena, one of the principal authors of the resolution, this was to provide the BTA with sufficient time to continue in performing its powers and functions and complete its mandate.
Lorena also said his basis for passing the resolution is Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim’s position that he is in favor of extending the transition period. “I stand by our chief minister, when he declared that in the normalization, there are much to be sought off,” he said.
Lorena was referring to Ebrahim’s podcast interview with journalist Christian Esguerra on Nov.13. In the interview, Ebrahim said he supports the recommendation of the Mindanao Peoples’ Caucus (MPC) on extending the transition period for another three years.
MPC, a peace advocacy group, has conducted a rapid midterm review on the Bangsamoro transition period through record reviews, key informant interviews, and focused group discussion with various stakeholders.
“The challenge here is the full implementation of the two tracks in the peace process – the governance track and the normalization track,” Ebrahim said.
He explained the first track will be the governance aspect and this involved the creation of the Bangsamoro and the BARMM. The next is the normalization track, which has not been implemented.
“In the normalization period, the decommissioning of the BIAF (Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces), dismantling of private armies, organization of the police force for the region. Nandyan ‘yung rehabilitation [of] combatants after they are decommissioned, pati ‘yung amnesty. Maraming naka-tie-up d’un sa normalization (There is the rehabilitation of the combatants, who should be given amnesty. There is so much tied up in the normalization phase),” he added.
“Sa tingin namin talagang kapag nagkaroon ng election [in 2022 in BARMM], ang mangyari ma-sideline na ‘yung normalization at hindi ma-implement. ‘Yun ang magiging problema natin (We perceived that if there should be an election by 2022 in the BARMM, the normalization will be sidelined. That would be the biggest problem,” he explained.
According to Ebrahim, the initially decommissioned 12,000 BIAF combatants are yet to receive the P1-million economic package each the national government has promised in exchange for them to return to civilian life.
“Until now this has not been given. So the challenge is how to convince combatants. They would say that nothing really happened,” noting that the MILF has target 40,000 combatants for decommissioning.
Ebrahim noted so hopefully there should be a normalization process to coincide and complete the transition,” Ebrahim said.
Also cited in Resolution 332 are the calls to extend the transition period from the League of Municipalities of the Philippines’ chapter in Tawi-Tawi, Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Tawi-Tawi, and Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Maguindanao.