President Rodrigo Duterte is supporting the possible extension of the Bangsamoro transition period to three more years due to “difficulties” in achieving normalization in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mandanao, according to Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez.
Galvez said he recommended for the extension after the President asked for his opinion on the request of the Bangsamaro Transition Authority to extend its term until 2025, or three more years after the transition period is expected to lapse in 2022.
Galvez said that the three-year transition is “a very short time.”
In a separate press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President has agreed to the plea of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to extend the region’s transition period to 2025, while the country is in a public health crisis.
“President Duterte also believes that three years is too short and he agrees for the possible extension,” he said.
The BARMM, an expanded autonomous region created upon the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law in January 2019, is the outcome of the comprehensive peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front after years of negotiations.
Currently, the BARMM is under transition.
Roque said the President will “help” in efforts to amend the BOL, the law that says the transition period will end in 2022 to give way to the Bangsamoro region’s first elections.
“He will help in amending the law but BARMM officials have to talk to congressmen and senators,” Roque said.
The BTA recently adopted Resolution 332 urging the House and Senate to extend the transition period to give them more time to put in place the normalization and peace-keeping process.
Once Congress agrees to extend the transition period, the schedule of the first parliamentary elections in the region may be moved from 2022 to 2025.
The first regular elections for the Bangsamoro Parliament is slated for May 2022, simultaneous with the national and local elections in the Philippines.