Groups ask Duterte to certify as urgent bills extending transition in BARMM

ILIGAN CITY—Civil society groups in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are urging President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent the passage of bills seeking to move regional elections in 2022 to 2025.

The bills are aimed to extend Bangsamoro transition by another three years which was earlier requested by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
“The President is very important in the equation, in the spirit of institutionalizing the gains of the peace process,” said Emran Mohamad of the League of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations (LBO).

Duterte has earlier thrown his support behind the idea of giving the BTA another three years to accomplish the remaining tasks of preparing the BARMM’s regular governmental setup.

Mohamad said time is crucial in the push for extending the Bangsamoro transition as Congress has only less than 30 session days left before it adjourns the second regular session in June.

He explained that the law mandating the postponement of the 2022 election must already be in place before the filing of candidacy certificates in October.

“There is nothing impossible if the President will certify the legislation urgent. We understand that the legislators will honor and respect the priority of the President,” said Archie Buaya of the Confederation of Descendants of Rajah Mamalu (CDORM).

On Wednesday (Feb. 10), the groups launched an online petition to gather support for their plea to Duterte.

By certifying the bills as urgent, these can be given “more prominence and a sense of urgency given the equally important and competing concerns of Congress,” the petition read.

“We commend the significant accomplishments of the national government and the BTA to implement the
peace agreement and deliver the priority tasks during the transition period,” it added.

“We believe that the BTA and national government will be able to accomplish more and uplift the quality of life of the people in a massive scale if they will be given additional time,” the groups said.

The House of Representatives will begin on Feb. 16 public consultations on the bills seeking an extension of Bangsamoro transition