The Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City. (Photo from the Facebook page of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao)

COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao, Philippines — The leadership of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) welcomes the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend the term of the government nominees in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) while he approving the new set of nominees from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The Security, Justice and Peace Cabinet Cluster (SJPCC) announced in a statement on Friday that the president approved on Feb. 21 its recommendation to maintain the status quo on the current composition of the BTA.

“The President also approved the 41 MILF nominees for the BTA as submitted by BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim,” the SJPCC said.

Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11593 on Oct. 28 last year, postponing the regional parliamentary elections to 2025, thereby extending the life of the BTA, which serves as the interim government in the BARMM.

BARMM Interior Minister Naguib Sinarimbo pointed out that the provisions of Republic Act 11593 gave the president the option of appointing new BTA members.

“Apparently, the sitting president has exercised the option not to appoint but extend the term of the government nominees while at the same time, he has exercised the option to appoint by approving the new set of nominees coming from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front transmitted by Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim,” said Sinarimbo, who also acts as BARMM spokesperson.

The SJPCC said: “Maintaining the status quo in the BTA will enable the incumbent President to focus on ensuring that the key aspects of the transition process in the Bangsamoro, such as building the capacity of the BTA Parliament and the BARMM Cabinet for good and accountable moral governance, are effectively carried out.”

“Further, maintaining the status quo in the BTA takes into consideration the appeal made by the BTA through Resolution No. 173 dated 12 October 2021 requesting President Duterte to allow the incumbent BTA members to continue carrying out their mandate in order to preserve the gains achieved under the body’s various programs, projects and legislative measures,” the SJPCC said.

The resolution, passed on Oct. 12 last year, asked Duterte to allow incumbent BTA members to continue their service, keeping its membership intact.

Last Feb. 15, the BTA passed another resolution appealing to Duterte that, if he should decide to appoint a new set of BTA members, he should allow the incumbent members nominated by the government to continue their service by giving primary consideration in their reappointment.

The statement of the SJPCC was signed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, and Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr.


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