MILF, ARMM leaders gear up for transition

Initial preparations are underway for the establishment of the interim Bangsamoro government following the recent ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Murad Ebrahim Al Haj, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who is expected to assume the post of chief minister of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), met with Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman, and Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr.

According to Galvez, the tripartite meeting was held to help shepherd the incoming leadership of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

In high spirits

“The meeting was very fruitful. Everybody is in high spirits to ensure the smooth and seamless transition from ARMM to BARMM,” the Presidential Peace Adviser said.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) officially declared the ratification of the BOL last January 26, following an overwhelming vote from residents during the January 21 plebiscite in the ARMM core areas and Cotabato City.

Another plebiscite will be held on February 6 for the possible inclusion into the BARMM of areas in Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato.

The BOL serves as the legal foundation for the establishment of the new Bangsamoro autonomous region whose government will enjoy more political powers as well as financial resources.

The landmark measure aims to address the centuries-old clamor of the Moro people to their right to genuine and meaningful self-governance.

With the BOL’s ratification, the ARMM will be abolished on June 30 this year and put an end to the terms of office of the current regional government.

ARMM to BARMM

The interim BARMM government will be composed of the 80-member BTA which is expected to be appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte in the coming weeks. Incumbent ARMM officials will also be part of the said transition government, until their terms expire on June 30 this year.

Galvez said the national government, through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and the leadership of the ARMM, stands ready to assist in terms of capacity building to achieve good governance.

“This is part of the guidance of President Rodrigo Duterte to have a clean government and nurture good governance in the autonomous region,” he said.

In 2014, a transition mechanism was established to provide greater coordination between national government and the parties involved.

Called the Coordination Team for the Transition (CT4T), the body will ensure that the necessary steps are undertaken in preparation for the installation of the BTA. The CT4T is composed of representatives of the national government, ARMM, the MILF, and MNLF.

Both Murad and Hataman have agreed to retain the core departments of the ARMM regional government to ensure the continuation in the delivery of basic services.

MILF commitment to the Normalization process

Galvez said Murad reiterated the commitment of the MILF Leadership to decommission their forces and their readiness to implement the Normalization process.

“Murad is elated and expressed the MILF leadership’s commitment for their forces to be decommissioned,” he said.

Galvez said both Murad and Mujiv are one in saying that they shall work together in strengthening and enhancing the security situation in the area following the recent incidents in Jolo, Sulu and Zamboanga City.

He said both the government and the MILF will use the Joint Peace and Security Teams and other joint normalization mechanisms to maintain peace and security in the region particularly during the transition stage from ARMM to BARMM.

Earlier, the ARMM regional government, MILF, MNLF, OPAPP, and other peace stakeholders strongly condemned the bombing incidents.

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