Due to drawbacks magnified by the pandemic, Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) calls for the extension of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) transition period.
In a virtual conversation entitled “Where is the Bangsamoro Now?: A Rapid Midterm Review,” BTA interim chief minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim said that although progress has been done for BARMM, there is still “more work to do;” hence, the support for the call of extension of the ongoing transition period is strengthened.
He also said that BTA focused on two things namely the creation of new bureaucracies and the normalization track, encompassing issues in commissioning and programs for combatants.
“While we can confidently say that there have been significant milestones emanating from the time of the new structure tick off, it is also true that we have more work to do – work that is centered on building better lives for Bangsamoro and bringing the effect of the peace process down to the grassroots,” he said.
In the political or legal track of the Rapid Midterm Review on the Bangsamoro Transition Period, Amelita Balisalisa-Atillo, a social science practitioner, presented the accomplishments of the BTA which includes the enactment of the first Bangsamoro Appropriations Act, release of the internal revenue allotment, transfer of the full powers of the ARMM to the Bangsamoro government, determination of the parliamentary districts for the first elections, and demonstration of self-reliance amid the pandemic among many others.
The same research showed that among 232 research participants, 62 or 24.6% were not satisfied while 66 or 34.5% were satisfied with the performance of the BARMM government during the midterm transition period.
In the normalization track, Joselito Libres, board member of Mindanao Peoples Caucus, cited the operationalization of Bangsamoro Police, high poverty incidence, anti-BARMM positions of some local government units and groups, and lack of funds among many constraining factors and challenges BTA faces.
During the conversation, Deputy Supreme Tribe Chief Santing Unsad, representative of Timuay Justice and Governance, posed the question as to where non-Moro indigenous peoples can place themselves in the discussion of the BARMM transition extension.
“Divided po yung non-moro indigenous peoples. Polarized po dahil yung mga ahensya na supposed to be catering the welfare of non-moro ips ay nagging tri-people po yung kanyang action,” he said, referring to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, calling their action “exclusive” for some leaders.
He also said that land-grabbing and attacks targeted to them have been intensified in the midst of the BARMM process; “hence walang normalization.”
Meanwhile, BTA member MP Daiamila Disimban-Ramos assures that still, the “clamor (for extension) must come from the ground,” although she admitted that there is a call for their constituents to support the extension.
“Allowing the BTA more time to finish its mandate will help the Bangsamoro to move forward with its goals and ensure a smooth transition for the upcoming elected government,” she said.
About two hundred participants from different colleges, universities, groups and organizations monitored the conversation organized by the Ateneo Public Interest and Legal Advocacy Center (APILA) and Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogues in Southeast Asia (AQI) through the coordination of the University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council (UCEAC) and in partnership with the Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC).