In photo-Gov. Miriam Mangudadatu of Maguindanao

Maguindanao gov rallies BTA support

Cotabato City (February 5, 20210—Maguindanao Governor Bai Mariam Sangki Mangudadatu has asked lawmakers to prioritize passage of the proposed measure seeking to extend the term of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
Mangudadatu on Friday said the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) needed more time at its infancy to make up for unprecedented changes caused by the onslaught of the covid19 pandemic.

The lady governor said lawmakers will understand that deadlines set by Republic Act 11054, the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) prior to the pandemic, could no longer be doable under the present situation.

Maguindanao Congressman Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu said as the author of House Bill 8116, seeking to amend the BOL and extend BTA term to three more years, he was optimistic that his dialogue with fellow lawmakers could generate support for the timely passage of the measure.

BARMM Interior and local governments Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said when he attended a recent meeting with lawmakers in Manila, the mood in the Senate concerning the BARMM-BTA extension was cordial, adding that the proposed measures may eventually be forwarded to appropriate levels, including Committee on Local Governments chaired by Senator Francis Tolentino.

Also, lawmakers from the two Lanao provinces—Rep. Ansaruddin Alonto Adiong (First District Lanao Sur), Rep. Yasser Alonto Balindong (Second District Lanao Sur) and First District of Lanao del Norte Rep. Khalid Dimaporo— also have expressed or even committed to support the House Bills seeking for BTA term extension, Sinarimbo said.     

On Thursday, Mayor Victor Samama of Datu Piang, Maguindanao said that old town’s Municipal Council also “has passed resolution expressing support for the extension of the term of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to three years, in order to give it more time to put in place programs on Moral Governance.” 

Congressman Mangudadatu said one possible hindrance could be a resolution filed by Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, asking the House leadership to place BARMM under review for accomplishment in the last two years.

But in Basilan, Lamitan City Mayor Rosita Furigay wrote BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim that she and her fellow officials, as well as the city constituents, were supportive of the BTA extension.  

BTA Parliament Member Jose Lorena said he wanted to clarify that the interim BTA has hardly reached its second year of existence, considering that it was inaugurated in February 2020, organized in March, funded by the national government in July and started being operational also in July 2019 when Covid19 struck to change the world.

The Mangudadatus of Maguindanao and their allies have separately called for support to the proposed extension of the BTA’s three-year tenure, which is being pushed in the House of Representatives in three bills filed so far. House Bills 8116 and 8117, filed on December 1, 2020, by Rep. Loren Legarda (Antique, Lone District) and Rep. Esmael G. Mangudadatu (Maguindanao, 2nd District), respectively. 

HB 8161 was filed on December 7, 2020 by the House Majority Leader, Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez (Leyte, 1st District), and the fourth, HB 8222, was filed on December 14, 2020 by Rep. Khalid Q. Dimaporo (1st District, Lanao del Norte).

As early as October 2019, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Maguindanao made the official endorsement via resolution to Congress for the extension of the BRA from 2022 to 2025.

In July 2020, the Tawi-Tawi chapter of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines also resolved to push in Congress the grant of extension to the BTA. In October 2020, the Mindanao Peoples’ Caucus, peace advocacy group, made a similar recommendation from its assessment in 21 focus group discussions from across the BARMM, during a review of the BTA’s performance up to that time.