PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Friday, Feb. 22, administered the oath of office to the newly appointed 80 members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
Mr. Duterte also led the “ceremonial confirmation” of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite canvass results.
During the ceremony, Mr. Duterte announced his appointment of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim as interim Chief Minister of the BTA.
“The road to peace may be long and rough but I am glad we have finally reached its endpoint. My only hope is that we put to rest the bitter memories of the past so we can build a new region,” the President said in his remarks.
“Always embody the dreams and aspirations of the great men and women who came before you and fought for the recognition of your right to determine your future,” he added.
The Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which the President signed on July 27 last year, was “deemed ratified” when approved by a majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite held on Jan. 21 and Feb. 6.
The law states that upon its ratification, the transition period for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region “shall commence” through the creation of the BTA, which will serve as the region’s interim government during the three-year transition period until June 30, 2022.
The Organic Law states that the MILF shall lead the BTA, “without prejudice to the participation of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in its membership.”
The BTA is composed of 80 members who are appointed by the President. The law says that the elected officials of the Autonomous Regional Government in Muslim Mindanao become automatic members of the BTA, and they will serve until June 30 of 2019.
During the transition period, executive authority will be exercised by the interim Chief Minister, who is also appointed by the President, while the legislative authority will be exercised by the BTA.
Moreover, all powers and functions of the Bangsamoro Government, as provided in the Organic Law, are vested in the BTA during the transition period.
The BTA’s functions and priorities include the enactment of priority legislation such as the Bangsamoro’s administrative code, revenue code, electoral code, local government code, and education code. Until such laws are enacted, the Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 25 or the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Local Government Code and existing laws on elections and other electoral matters will be applied in the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. — Arjay L. Balinbin