The Insider Mediators (IM), together with the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI), lauds both Houses of Congress for moving forward the bills on the proposed extension of the transition period of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) from 2022 to 2025. In the Senate, Senate Bill 2214 was passed Second Reading on August 25, 2021. The next day, in the House of Representatives, the Committee on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity, Committee on Muslim Affairs, and Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms voted affirmatively on the proposed substitute bill submitted by a Technical Working Group created to work on the consolidation of several bills related to the extension.
The Insider Mediators is a network of Bangsamoro stakeholders who are working towards the attainment of a common agenda among the major stakeholders of the region and the realization of peace, justice and harmony among the different communities of the Bangsamoro. The Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) is a social development and advocacy network of 250 members from faith-based groups, non-government organizations and people’s organizations grouped into 15 regional clusters all over the Philippines.
Both groups look forward to the eventual passage of the bills into law before Congress goes on recess on October 2021. To fast-track the passage and enactment of this bill, IM and PMPI are still hoping that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte would certify the bill as urgent.
The postponement of the elections in the BARMM will allow the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to complete its work in building the bureaucracy before the regular government comes in, enact priority legislation, including a code on indigenous peoples’ rights, on revenue generation, and on regional elections, as provided in the Bangsamoro Organic Act, and implement programs that had been slowed down by the lockdowns from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. The extension of the transition period will also provide much needed time for the realization of the many commitments that remain unimplemented under the normalization track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
The BARMM was established in 2019, upon ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Act, as part of the implementation of the CAB. Under the agreement, the Government of the Philippines recognized as legitimate and just the Bangsamoro people’s struggle and aspiration for self-governance. The Bangsamoro Organic Act established the BARMM and provided it with more political and fiscal autonomy.
(Sgd.) Fatima Pir T. Allian (Sgd.) Yolanda Rafol Esguerra
Insider Mediator Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc.