PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is expected to attend the inaugural session of the Parliament of the new Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) on Thursday, September 15, according to Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez.

Galvez told the media on Saturday, September 10 that they are preparing for the "big event" where Marcos will be attending the inaugural session in Cotabato City, the seat of the Bangsamoro government.

The Peace Adviser bared the date during a “social meeting” at the Malacañang of the South in Panacan, Davao City, where it was spearheaded by Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo with officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm) led by Chief Minister Ebrahim.

He said diplomatic corps were also invited as well as key leaders in the national and local levels.

Galvez said Lagdameo, whom the President has designated to be his pointman in the Bangsamoro and all of Mindanao, called for the meeting because he wanted to have a smooth transition with Barmm officials.

"Gusto niya [The President] maging maganda ang relationship sa ating mga Barmm officials. Gusto niya na magkaroon ng smooth transition (The President wants a harmonious relationship among Barmm officials),” he said.

Also in the meeting was Local Governments Secretary Benhur Abalos. Ebrahim’s party included Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal who is also chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Implementing Panel, Executive Secretary Abdulraof Macacua, Public Works and Highways Minister Ed Guerra, and Member of Parliament Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba.

The meeting was not opened to the media.

However, Galvez disclosed that the MILF members thanked Lagdameo for the latter’s support to the Bangsamoro government.

He also said they discussed the incoming integration of former MILF combatants into the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The official declined to elaborate further as this has yet to be discussed further.

Abalos, in a short ambush interview, said it was a “productive meeting.”

Iqbal, also in an ambush interview, cannot confirm if Marcos will be attending, but he said they are hoping for his presence in the session.

“But that is a standing request from our side na kung pepwede ang presidente (if possible that the president) would grace the very important inauguration of the BTA parliament,” the MILF official said.

Iqbal also declined to provide details on what transpired during the meeting.

The inaugural session will commence a month after the BTA members took their oath in Malacanang.

The transition period was supposed to have ended on June 30 this year. However, former President Rodrigo Duterte signed on October 28, 2021 the law extending the transition period until June 30, 2025. (RGL)