Photo credits to BTA-BARMM

BTA consults stakeholders on Bangsamoro Veteran Mujahideen Bill No. 44

COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) invited leaders and fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation to participate in the consultation process for BTA Bill No. 44, or the Bangsamoro Veteran Mujahideen Act of 2022, in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur and Cotabato City, BARMM on the last week of May 2023 respectively. 

The Government of the Day introduced to the public the BTA Bill No. 44, which will create the Bangsamoro Veteran Mujahideen Affairs Office (BVMAO) aimed at providing financial, medical, social, and other assistance to MILF and MNLF Mujahideen veterans who fought alongside the revolutionary forces for at least 20 years in the protracted war for self-determination between the Bangsamoro and the national government. 

The hundreds of participants who attended at the provincial gymnasium of Marawi City on Tuesday, May 30 called for the immediate passage of BTA Bill No. 44, a proposal to establish the office dedicated to assisting the unfortunate Mujahideen veterans in the Bangsamoro region

Member of Parliament Basit Abbas described the public consultation as a “historic event,” with leaders and members of the MILF and MNLF coming together as one. 

One of the participants, Hasana Unda, praised the proponents of the bill, calling the bill one of the “historic bills” filed by the Bangsamoro Parliament.

During the public consultations, MILF and MNLF combatants expressed several issues and concerns, including the qualifications of beneficiaries, representation of women, and the benefits and privileges of the proposal. 

The consultation process was led by the Bangsamoro Parliament's Social Services and Development Committee, with Deputy Floor Leader Atty. Anna Tarhata Basman. 

Meanwhile, in Cotabato City, a large number of people also gathered to participate in a consultation for the proposed proposal to establish the Bangsamoro Veteran Mujaideen Affairs Office. 

Committee on Social Services and Development (CSSD) Chair Engr. Aida Silongan urged her fellow lawmakers to support the immediate passage of the bill, stressing that "those who have truly sacrificed will be the top priority.

"Both the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front support the passage of BTA Bill No. 44. Some of the points laid out during the consultation were the inclusion of veterans living outside BARMM, eligibility requirements for the program, the validation process of beneficiaries, educational assistance for those veteran's child, and legal aid for combatant cases, among others.

Presiding Chair Atty. Raisa Jajurie told the stakeholders that their feedback and recommendations will be carefully considered.