MANILA (16 August 2022) — President Ferdinand E. Marcos Jr.’s appointment of new members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) symbolizes the unity among the various Moro fronts.

This was emphasized by Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. in an interview on Monday, as he noted the body is comprised of representatives from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Misuari and Sema Groups, as well as the sons and daughters of top Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MIILF) leaders.

“This is a united BTA because most of the new members came from the younger generations of Moro leaders which include the sons and daughters of both MNLF and MILF leaders [Nur] Misuari, [Muslim] Sema, [Yusoph] Jikiri, [Datu Udtog ‘Datu Jun’ Jr.] Matalam, [Gadzali Jaafar, Mimbantas] and Hashim Salamat, among others,” Galvez said.

“So we can see that the next generation [of Bangsamoro leaders] intend to continue the peace process that their ancestors started,” he added.

Historic and symbolic

Galvez noted that the appointment of the new BTA members is not just historic but also symbolic because, “the peace process started during the term of Former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and hopefully, it will succeed in the next six years of the term of current President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.”

This, he said, gives flesh to the President’s peace agenda, which underscores the primacy of inclusivity and equal representation in governance.

“The criteria of the selection process include service reputation, performance, professionalism, contribution to the Bangsamoro peace process, geographical and sectoral representation, and acceptability ng mga stakeholders,” Galvez said.

He also emphasized that the BTA members are “men and women of integrity, credibility,” have extensive experience in governance, and come from diverse ethno-linguistic and sectoral groups.

He said these qualities will be crucial in achieving the goals of the BTA and uplifting the lives of the Bangsamoro people.

“Most of them are technocrats who are medical professionals, former national and local government officials, business people, lawyers, lawyer-certified public accountants who can help tremendously in the smooth transition of the region,” Galvez said.

Guidance from the President

He re-echoed the President’s call for the BTA to fast track the implementation of their deliverables, which include the completion of priority codes within the extended transition period.

“They need to double time because three years is a short period to ensure the quality of legislation that needs to be passed,” Galvez said.

These codes, he said, include the Bangsamoro Local Government Code, Electoral Code, Revenue Code and Indigenous Peoples’ Code.

Galvez also reiterated the President’s clear statement for the BTA, that “there will be no more extension beyond 2025 and the Elections must proceed as planned.”

He said the President has given his full support to the BTA, as “our President said that he is ready to extend help to the BTA and he also personally asked me to provide them with necessary assistance they will be needing.”

Continuing the implementation of peace agreements

The Marcos administration, he said, is determined to ensure the completion of the implementation of all signed Bangsamoro peace agreements through the appointment of the new BTA members.

“The President understands that he needs to remain true to the spirit of negotiations and agreements between the government and the Moro fronts, he is very decisive to really implement our obligations towards the Bangsamoro.”

This decisiveness, he said, “increased the trust and confidence among our Muslim brothers and sisters,” he said.

Galvez also underscored the President’s determination to “continue the growth and development in the region, improve its quality of education, and spur economic activities in the Bangsamoro which can help strengthen the country’s food security and economic recovery.”

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. led the oath taking of the new members of the BTA), the interim government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), on August 15 at the Malacañang Palace.

The BTA is an 80-member governing body tasked to pass crucial legislation to operationalize the Republic Act No. 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and exercise legislative and executive powers during the region’s transition period.###

[Photo courtesy of the Office of the President]