Eid’l Adha Prayers: Mr. Speaker, please certify that the urgent bills extend the Bangsamoro transition period
KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / July 20) – As Filipino Muslims celebrated Eid’l Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice on Tuesday, Moro civil society organizations (CSOs) in various parts of the country prayed that President Rodrigo Duterte and Congress extend transition period in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) “for a just and genuine peace to reign in the southern Philippines”.
While only a few have been allowed inside mosques since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic began last year, many have joined the Eid’l Adha celebrations, many of them had to be content to stay outside the mosques in the city of Cotabato as physical distancing was imposed.
Other Muslims joined in the prayers of the congregation in their homes or in family enclosures, while others slaughtered goats and cattle to give them to the poor.
In Marawi City, the Marawi Reconstruction Conflict Watch, in collaboration with International Alert Philippines, launched a “minute of silence” as a call for solidarity to speed up passage of the Marawi Compensation Bill. and for the Meranaws to finally return home.
Outside Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque, the country’s largest mosque located in the city of Cotabato, hundreds of supporters signed a white tarp praying for the extension of the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority (BTA) until 2025.
“Dear President Rodrigo Roa Duterte: We humbly ask you to announce during your SONA (State of the Nation Address) that (the) extension of the Bangsamoro transition period is a priority bill (of your government ), ”Tarp said.
Duterte will deliver its last SONA on Monday July 26.
Previously, the president had expressed support for extending the transition period in the Bangsamoro region, but recently adopted a “neutral position”, leaving the decision to extend the life of the BTA in the hands of Congress. .
The representative of the 2nd district of Maguindanao, Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, drafted a bill postponing the BARMM elections of 2022, which will effectively prolong the transition period of the region. Four other members of the House have introduced similar bills.
If the transition period is not extended, the mandate of the BTA will end on June 30, 2022 when the first group of elected officials are sworn in.
Dozens of Moro CSOs and at least a million people signed a petition last March asking Duterte to certify the extension bills pending in Congress as priority legislation.
To date, the President has not acted on the petition.
Alan Balangi-Amer, chairman of the One Bangsamoro Movement, Inc. (1Bangsa), which unites 60 Moro groups across the Philippines, said they were celebrating Eid’l Adha by praying for Duterte to certify the bills of extension as an urgent measure. .
1Bangsa also called on Congress to approve the extension bills before the filing of nomination papers for the May 2022 national and local elections in October on the occasion of this year’s Eid’l Adha, which took place in October. been declared a national holiday.
“Giving more (time) to the Bangsamoro transition will fully resolve historical injustices and give meaning to genuine peace in Mindanao. What we see is the imperative and the urgency of its passage (extension bills), ”Balangi-Amer said.
“It is now in the hands of the Congress to give more time to the transition of Bangsamoro and to be an instrument to build a just and humane society (in Mindanao)”, he added.
Previously, the governor of Sulu, Abdusakur Tan, had opposed the postponement of the BARMM elections to 2022 to allow voters to exercise their right to vote and freely choose BARMM leaders.
Tan added that the current BTA members “were underperforming” in their jobs.
In his Eid’l Adha message, BARMM Acting Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim noted that those who sacrificed themselves for the Bangsamoro cause should always be remembered.
“We owe them success and continued efforts to build a new region that can meet all challenges and pave the way for a better future,” he said.
Murad had previously supported extending the transition period in BARMM, noting that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic was affecting governance in the Bangsamoro region.
Murad said the extension will allow the parties to implement the provisions of the Comprehensive Bangsamoro Agreement (CAB).
The CAB is the final peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014 after 17 years of negotiations. His signature paved the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro region after its enabling law, Republic Law 11054 or the BARMM Organic Law, was ratified in a plebiscite in 2019.
The CAB also mandated the downgrading of MILF fighters and the transformation of their camps into peaceful and productive economic zones, which Presidential Peace Advisor Carlito Galvez, Jr. admitted was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2015, former President Benigno Aquino III led phase 1 of the decommissioning process involving 145 MILF fighters and 75 high power weapons in the town of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
In September 2019, Phase 2 of the decommissioning process was launched in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao with President Rodrigo Duterte as the main guest. It involved 12,000 MILF members and at least 2,100 assorted weapons “in a process that ended in March 2020,” according to the foreign-led independent decommissioning body.
Each disabled MILF fighter has been promised aid of one million pesos, which includes livelihoods and shelter, and 100,000 pesos. The 12,000 declassified fighters only received the cash component and are still waiting for the rest of the package.
Phase 3 was to start in August. The list of 14,000 MILF fighters with their 2,450 guns was submitted last December to the independent overseas-led dismantling body.
Phase 3 involves 35% of the 40,000 MILF members, who fought a decades-old war with the government in a first attempt for Moro autonomy in Mindanao that ultimately ended in negotiated autonomy. (Bong S. Sarmiento, with reports from Ferdinandh Cabrera in Cotabato City / MindaNews)