IN THE past few months, I have been discussing my work, my vision, and the challenges we face in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) in this column and with my family. Few weeks ago, I attended series of meetings in Manila with my colleagues in the BTA and co-members in the Committee of Finance, Budget and Management. In these meetings, I have seen how the BTA Members of the Parliament are all committed to help the Bangsamoro and make sure that the Barmm will succeed in delivering its mandate.
When we were campaigning for the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL RA 11054), some people were having the impression that the law will become a silver bullet in addressing all the problems in the Bangsamoro. The campaign line was the “BOL is the antidote for violent extremism”. Realities on the ground show differently.
Recently, I asked myself the following questions. What is happening in Maguindanao? What is happening in the SPMS box? (SPMS refers to the towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin, Mamasapano, and Salibo) Violent extremism are still there. Violent extremist organizations such as the ASG and BIFF are still operating on the ground.
The BARMM is operating barely for eight months. We cannot solve decades of problems in the Bangsamoro in just less than a year nor even for three years. The challenges were facing now are birth pains of the transition. The BARMM has to function. The government has to function. The BTA has executive and legislative work to accomplish day to day.
In today’s BARMM, people has the perception that there is no unity among the Bangsamoro. People look at the history of the struggle without looking at how we have an inclusive future for good governance. We want to fast track the phasing out of the ARMM employees without looking at challenges of the phasing-in (hiring process) for the bureaucracy. Most of us are thinking about the regular parliament without putting in mind that we are in the transition phase and we have Article 16 of the BOL to implement.
My recent reflections in my work reminds me of the saying “Putting the cart before the horse.”
I use this saying because the “cart”and the “horse” have deep meaning that can help us in our work in the BTA. The cart refers to the the vehicle to carry passengers to a destination. But the passengers will not arrive while the cart being placed in front of the horse.
The BTA needs to pass important bills that include the administrative code, Indigenous peoples code, internal revenue code, civil service code, education, local government, creation of offices, and electoral code. In passing these codes, every member of the parliament is important. The voice of every member of the parliament is crucial in having an inclusive government for the Bangsamoro.