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Review of BARMM’s milestones sought

A HOUSE leader on Friday strongly urged President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to create a joint committee composed of and representing all sectors and stakeholders in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) that would conduct a quick but comprehensive midterm review of the region’s milestone’s and millstones during its transition period.

Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman made the call in the wake of a resolution filed in the Bangsamoro parliament asking Congress for an extension of the transition period of the expanded autonomous government to the year 2025, or another three years, after it lapses in 2022 as stated under the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

“A midterm review would give everyone, including those in Congress who would eventually discuss the extension, a view of the successes and triumphs of the interim government during the transition period, as well as the obstacles they need to hurdle, and how the national government can help,” said Hataman, former governor of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“We are for peace, and we are supportive of any mechanism or recommendation from an objective panel, be it an extension or not. And to convince the people and LGUs of BARMM, especially those who are opposed to the proposed extension, it would be better to conduct a midterm review by all stakeholders and, from there, make recommendations,” said Hataman.

The Bangsamoro parliament resolution, if adopted by Congress through legislation, would also postpone the elections in BARMM to 2025.

“Ang BARMM ay produkto ng dugo at pawis sa pakikibaka para sa kanyang awtonomiya at pamamahala sa sarili ng mga Bangsamoro. Matapos ang mahigit isang taon, napapanahon na siguro ang magsagawa ng komprehensibong midterm review para alam natin kung ano ang ginagawa nating tama at kung ano ang kulang,” he further expressed. “What is important is we review the gains and the hurdles objectively, and then decide accordingly based on recommendations.”

In the spirit of unity and transparency, Hataman said it is necessary to conduct a thorough consultation involving all sectors, and a joint committee composed of members commissioned by the Philippine Government and MILF panels, including LGUS and independent bodies, can achieve this goal.

“These consultations will also tell us what has been achieved, its effects on the people of BARMM, the general sentiment of the Bangsamoro, and many other information we may need to seek congressional approval of the extension,” the human rights activist stated.

“I also urge President Duterte to intervene in this endeavor as he can encourage everyone to cooperate with this midterm review. Our goal is to preserve the peace we all fought for, not create further divisions in the Bangsamoro. For the peace in Bangsamoro, let us not be divided,” he further stressed.