MALACAÑANG PALACE, MANILA (13 August 2022) — President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday led the oath taking of the new members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the interim government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“I am confident because I have seen the list of the new appointees and the new members and I believe that everyone has come to be part of this process with a sincere desire to get BARMM back into the normal fold of life in Philippines,” Marcos said in his speech.

He also underscored the critical role the BTA is playing in representing various sectors in the region.

“It is important that we are going to give the voice to all the stakeholders, to all the parties that are involved,” he added.

He likewise emphasized the need to hear the concerns of everyone as an important component in promoting justice and development in the region.

The President also stressed that the extension of the BTA’s term of office from 2022 to 2025 was meant to give the body more time to complete its tasks under the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

“The important work I refer to, is quite simply the enactment of basic laws that will guide and rule in the Bangsamoro provinces. This is actually a continuation of the process we started – what is it now, four years ago, where the Transition Authority was formed, and that Authority was mandated to do this role, to make these laws,” he said.

“We are given another chance…but we have three years and it is not a long time for this rather basic, fundamental, and highly important pieces of legislation that have to be produced now by the Transition Authority. I’m specifically referring to fiscal policy. You have to define taxation and fiscal policy, and how they are going to be defined and what are the rules to be followed,” he added.

The Chief Executive also stressed that the BTA has to pass the Electoral Code within the extended transition period.

“We have to finish the Electoral Code by 2025 because after 2025, we will no longer have any extensions … and we will conduct elections. We must have very clear rules on the conduct of those elections,” he continued.

The BTA has yet to come up with and pass priority measures which include the Bangsamoro Local Government Code, Electoral Code, Revenue Code and Indigenous Peoples’ Code.

Nevertheless, President Marcos expressed his full support to the Transition Authority, stressing that “all of that has to be done in the next three years”.

“I think it can be done, I think it has to be done. We really don’t have that much of a choice so we have to work together,” he pointed out.

Laying the foundations

The ratification of the Republic Act No. 11054 or the BOL through a plebiscite held in 2019 paved the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), as well as the establishment of the BTA.

Appointed by the President, the BTA is an 80-member governing body tasked to pass crucial legislations to operationalize the BOL and exercise legislative and executive powers during the region’s transition period.

The BOL specifies that the MILF shall lead the BTA, without prejudice to the participation of the MNLF.

The BTA’s 41 members shall be nominated by the MILF, while the remaining 39 members shall be endorsed by the Government of the Philippines (GPH).

In 2021, former President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11593 which postponed elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) that was scheduled to be held this year, and consequently, extending the transition period of the BTA to 2025.###

[PHOTOS | Courtesy of the Office of the President]