Mindanao officials that convened as a Council of Leaders reached a consensus close to midnight on Thursday to extend the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) for three more years by act of Congress
This was learned from lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, spokesperson for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and concurrent minister of the region’s interior and local government.
Sinarimbo said: “We've reached a consensus on the extension of the BTA. This will be reported to the President. We thank the Bangsamoro leaders as well as the Cabinet Secretaries of President Duterte for facilitating the afternoon's leaders' meeting.”
“We are immensely grateful to our people in the homeland who have shown today their overwhelming support to the extension of the BTA thru the conduct of unity caravans in all parts of the homeland; from Cotabato City, Maguindanao, Cagayan de Oro City, Zamboanga City, the Lanao provinces, Davao City, Sarangani, the Zamboanga Peninsula, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi."
Residents calling for the extension of the BTA by three more years converged in Wednesday in a Unity Caravan from different parts of Maguindanao, Cotabato, and Lanao Sur, Sarangani, Koronadal, Davao provinces, urging leaders to unite and give peace a chance.
Conveners of the Civil Society Organizations-Movement for Moral Governance (CSO MMG) read a manifesto in Buluan, urging local officials, including Maguindanao Governor Bai Mariam Sangki Mangudadatu, to come to terms of unity and give the interim BTA an extended term.
Dr. Rahib Kundto, president of the United Youth for Peace and Development, one of the conveners, said some of the participants were advocates for genuine autonomy from the Cotabato, South Cotabato and Sarangani.
Senate Bill 2214, the proposed measure extending the BTA, is sponsored by Senator Francis Tolentino as chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government. It would have been up for plenary deliberations were it not for the differing positions of the Moro leaders, sources said.
Maguindanao Rep. Esmael Mangudadatu has sponsored the House counterpart bill seeking the BTA extension
On June 15, Moro leaders ostensibly failed to reach consensus at a meeting leaders of Congress hosted by President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang.
Again, the President, who was described by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri as being “largely neutral” during that meeting, told the Moro leaders to settle differences among themselves on the issue and return today in Malacanang for a second and final round of meeting to iron out their differences.
Magundanao Governor Bai Mariam Mangidadatu reportedly was unable to attend the June 15 meeting, but she did send a letter reiterating her original position of toeing the line of a Provincial Board Resolution expressing support to BTA extension.
The term of the BTA, as the interim governing body of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), has been fixed by Republic Act 11054, the Bangsamoro Organic Law enacted in 2019.
The CSO-MMG said a parallel movement of people in Tawi-Tawi and Basilan, also called on the government to extend the BTA which would also mean postponement of BARMM elections.
The CSO Movement for Moral Governance issued a Manifesto stating the following:
That they appeal to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to certify as urgent the bill extending the period of the Bangsamoro Transition to 2025;
Appeal to all leader of the Bangsamoro to support the extension of the BTA for peace, freedom and justice, and for a brighter future of the Bangsamoro people;
Plea to the good offices of House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Senate President Tito Sotto III to expedite the passing of the bill extending the period of the BTA up to 2025.
Call to all Bangsamoro and Filipino peoples to preserve, protect and sustain the hard-earned gains of the peace processes by supporting the call for BTA extension, so that peace and development may thrive in the Bangsamoro.
Authorize the Chairman of the CSO Movement for Moral Governance to furnish copies of this Manifesto to the good offices of the President of the Philippines, House Speaker, Senate President, the good officeof Bangsamoro Chief Minister and media outlets for information dissemination and support purposes.
Signatories to the CSO MMG Manifesto are Mahmod Ahmad, Executive Director President League of Bangsamoro Organizations, Inc.; Hashim Manticayan, Institute of Bangsamoro Leadership and Management; Guiamel Alim, chairperson of Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society Inc.; president of the United Youth for Peace and Development; Qardhawie Bin Salik, president of the Bangsamoro Communication Network; Emran Mohamad, president of Union of Muslim Youth Organization; Anisa T. Arab, president of Noorus Salaam National Women Council; Abdulatip P. Sabpel, president Mindanao Association of Tri-People for Peace and Development Archie Buaya, president, Confederation of Descendants Organization of Rajah Mamalu; Ombra A. Imam; president National Association of Bangsamoro Education, Inc.; Datu Tungko Tadtagan, Executive Director of the Bangsamoro Center for Just-Peace, Inc.; Muslima Benito, Executive Director Bangsamoro Muslim Aid in the Philippines, Inc.; Mlang Utto Madal, president of the Sultan Anwaruddin "Datu UTTO" Bin Sultan Bangon Descendants Association; Norodin Donton, president Bangsamoro Emergency Action Team; Naut Usman, president, Muslim Youth Brotherhood; Ruby Andong, president President Itihadun Nisah Foundation, Inc., Shalimar Candao Lead Convenor President Women Organizations Movement of the Bangsamoro; Junn Salik of the Federation of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations; and Wahab Guialal Chairperson CSO Movement for Moral Governance.