A legislator from Mindanao on Friday sought a “quick but comprehensive” midterm review of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s milestones and achievements first before tackling a move to extend its transition period up to 2025.
Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman urged President Rodrigo Duterte to create a joint committee representing all sectors and stakeholders in the BARMM to carry out the review.
“A midterm review would give everyone, including those in Congress who would eventually discuss the extension, a view of the successes and triumphs of the interim government during the transition period, as well as the obstacles they need to hurdle and how the national government can help,” Hataman, a former governor of the now-defunct ARMM, said.
“We are for peace, and we are supportive of any mechanism or recommendation from an objective panel, be it an extension or not. And to convince the people and LGUs of BARMM, especially those who are opposed to the proposed extension, it would be better to conduct a midterm review by all stakeholders and, from there, make recommendations.”
Hataman made the statement following the filing of a resolution in the Bangsamoro parliament asking Congress for an extension of the transition period of the expanded autonomous government up to 2025, or for another three years. This as the transition window is set to lapse in 2022 as stated under the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
The Bangsamoro parliament resolution, if adopted by Congress through legislation, would also postpone the elections in BARMM to 2025.
“What is important is we review the gains and the hurdles objectively, and then decide accordingly based on recommendations,” Hataman said.
If a midterm review is held, Hataman urged the BARMM leadership “to take the opportunity and reach out to LGUs and other stakeholders and find a way to speed up high impact development programs that will help the region normalize or thrive in the ‘new normal’.”
The three-year extension proposal has gained support from some LGUs and civil society organizations, with many endorsing the proposal through resolutions. However, there are also sectors and LGUs that oppose the extension.
In the spirit of unity and transparency, Hataman said, it was necessary to conduct a thorough consultation involving all sectors, and a joint committee composed of members commissioned by the Philippine Government and MILF panels, including LGUS and independent bodies, could achieve this goal.
“These consultations will also tell us what has been achieved, its effects on the people of BARMM, the general sentiment of the Bangsamoro and many other information that we may need to seek congressional approval of the extension,” Hataman said.
“I also urge President Duterte to intervene in this endeavor as he can encourage everyone to cooperate with this midterm review. Our goal is to preserve the peace we all fought for, not create further divisions in the Bangsamoro. For the peace in Bangsamoro, let us not be divided.”