MUSLIM organizations on Monday, July 26, 2021, urged President Rodrigo Duterte to extend the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) in order to attain a stable and lasting peace in the region.
The Metro Manila Muslim Traders Association, Philippine Khutaba and Imam, Muslim Youth Organizations in Manila and Mindanao Women Advocate for Good Governance conducted a caravan from Macapagal Avenue in Pasay City to Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City hours before Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (Sona).
They urge Duterte to mark as urgent the BTA bill, which seeks to extend the BTA for three more years.
The BTA was created pending the election of the newly established region’s government officials in 2022.
In a press conference, Jalal Jamil of Philippine Khutba and Imam said the BTA should finish the transition from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
“Katulad ng paggawa ng iba’t-ibang batas mayroong mga natapos, pero hindi pa nai-implement...Sana mapagbigyan tayo na mapa-extend tayo para malaman natin kung ano ang dapat ma-implement ng current members of the parliament,” Dr. Rubina Macabunar of the Mindanao Women Advocacy for Good Governance said.
Abdul Majeed Unda of Muslim Youth Organizations in Manila said an extension is necessary to prevent the youth from joining terrorist groups. He noted that less than half, or 12,000, of the targeted 40,000 combatants, were decommissioned.
“Also what the BARMM needs right now is to be stable and be ready for passing it to the new set of members,” said Unda.
In May, a bill seeking to postpone regular elections in the region to 2025 was introduced in the Senate.
After a meeting with pro- and anti- BTA extension parties, Duterte said he leaves the decision to the lawmakers. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo / SunStar Philippines)