His spokesman Harry Roque, however, noted that the extension of the transition period requires the support of Congress. His spokesman Harry Roque, however, noted that the extension of the transition period requires the support of Congress. AFP/Ted Aljibe

‘Congress OK needed to extend Bangsamoro transition’ Featured

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the recent violence in Maguindanao, President Duterte remains supportive of a bid to extend the transition period for the Bangsamoro government, Malacañang said yesterday.

His spokesman Harry Roque, however, noted that the extension of the transition period requires the support of Congress.

“While he (Duterte) can certify anything as urgent, if Congress is not convinced, there would be difficulties,” the Palace spokesman said. “Although of course a certification itself will be a signal that it is important to this administration. But from the start, the President said he would respect the right to self-determination of all people in that area. There is a need to coordinate with senators and representatives of affected provinces.”

Earlier this month, members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), occupied a town market in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao, triggering clashes with the military.

The MILF, which signed a peace deal with the government in 2014, leads the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), interim government of the newly formed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The Bangsamoro Organic Law states that the BTA will function as the interim government of BARMM until officials who win in the 2022 polls assume their posts.

The Duterte administration, however, has expressed support for bills seeking to extend the transition phase for three years to give the Bangsamoro more time to lay the foundations of their government.

Duterte has urged local officials to help him address the threats posed by the BIFF but Roque clarified that the President is not blaming the BTA for the recent violent incident.

“We all know that BIFF are the ones who sowed the violence in BARMM,” Roque said at a press briefing.

“So it’s an expression of exasperation at the same time a warning that the state will not tolerate acts of violence. Second, he continues to be supportive of the initiative for the transition,” he added.000
Read 426 times Last modified on Tuesday, 18 May 2021 12:07
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