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Roadmap needed for Bangsamoro transition period extension — solon

PROPONENTS batting for the extension of the Bangsamoro transition period should present clear and attainable sets of goals, a roadmap of what they intend to accomplish if the transitory government is extended for another three years until 2025.

Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman issued the statement as he announced he is set to file a resolution in the House of Representatives asking the appropriate committee to conduct a midterm review, in aid of legislation, of the Bangsamoro transition.

On Thursday, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), in a hearing at the lower house, indicated that President Duterte is amenable to the idea of the three-year extension.

“Giving us a roadmap of the three-year extension will help us understand the urgency or the need to extend the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) transition period. This should include timelines for short- and long-term projects and programs,” Hataman, a former governor of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said.

“But I think they cannot do this without an honest-to-goodness midterm review of gains, accomplishments and areas of improvements. Kaya gusto ko uli imungkahi sa Pangulo na magkaroon muna ng rebyu ang BARMM bago natin i-extend ang transition period. It is the only way we can assess what needs to be done and what we can do further,” he added.

The Basilan legislator said the resolution intends to review the BARMM transition’s listed accomplishments, ongoing programs and what needs to be done in the Bangsamoro region. The midterm review, he continued, should also engage the LGUs and the basic sectors at the grassroots level in order for the exercise to be more participative.

“A blind extension would be counterproductive. Without a midterm review comprehensive enough to give us the real picture, how can OPAPP blindly suggest to extend the transition period for another three years? What is its basis? And why three years, and not two or five?” Hataman, a human rights activist, stated.

“I appreciate the President’s remarks when he said it is up to Congress, but we cannot do our jobs as legislators if we do not have the right information. If we really want to help BARMM, lets us conduct a midterm review. Let us act based on wisdom,” he further explained.

Hataman noted that the issue of whether to extend the transition period by three years or not has caused deep divisions among the people in BARMM, and that the newly formed region cannot afford to be divided at a time it is trying to achieve lasting peace.

If a midterm review is conducted and the results warrant an extension of the transition period, Hataman said the next endeavor should be developing a roadmap for the next five years, or until 2025.

“We want to see what the proponents of the extension plan to do in the next five years, like what are the specific objectives for next year and the year after that, or what they intend to accomplish in terms of legislative and executive actions,” he pointed out.

“We cannot simply extend the period without studying it. Did the pandemic interfere with the BARMM transition’s timelines? That is a valid reason. But we need to sit down and discuss it exhaustively.”