CSOs to assert BTA extension

Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao– There is no let-up for Moro Civil Society Organizations in asserting for the extension of Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) as they will hold a roadside rally and caravan during the upcoming visit of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. next week in the Bangsamoro Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
According to Mahdi Amella, Spokesman of the League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO) the event, to be attended by various organizations, aims to press Pres. Marcos to accede to calls to extend the term of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority for another three years.  

On Thursday, Amella told local media, Bandera News TV that Marcos is expected to visit BARMM, particularly Maguindanao del Norte, on Monday, April 29.

Marcos is expected to visit the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat town when he arrives but no available details of the visit made public.

According to Mindanews, Friday, the president will also visit Camp Abubakar, the former MILF camp in Barira town, Maguindanao Del Norte.

Amella said they expect a huge number of people to join the rally on Monday to insist on their request to extend the BTA until 2028.
It can be remembered that Marcos already rejected requests for BTA extension by civil society groups, as relayed to BARMM officials last month by Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Reconciliation and Unity.

“No more extension, the six years the BTA was extended is already enough,” Galvez said, apparently relaying the decision of the President.

Amella said the BTA needs three more years, citing there are still many provisions in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that needs to be implemented.

The scheduled 2025 elections in BARMM, which will coincide with the midterm polls, will end the BTA, the interim lawmaking body of the autonomous region that was created by the CAB in March 2014, the Mindanews report said.

Galvez said the president made it clear that “the elections need to happen to give legitimacy and accountability to officials” who will be chosen by the people.

To justify the BTA extension, the CSOs are pointing out that there are many CAB provisions that remain unimplemented, Amella said.