Regional Updates (01/18/21)

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Bangsamoro head reiterates call for 3-year transition extension as region celebrates 2nd founding anniversary

THE Bangsamoro flag was hoisted for the first time alongside the Philippine flag on January 18 as the region kicked off its 2nd founding anniversary celebration — a symbolic ceremony for its tri-people that has been on a long journey for autonomy, peace, and development. Officials delivered messages hailing what have been achieved so far in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), created through the Republic Act (RA) No. 11054, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, and officially established on January 21, 2019. But at the same time, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Al Haj Murad Ebrahim reiterated and stressed the need to extend the three-year transition period by postponing the scheduled elections in 2022. “We see that the two years we have spent and another year will still be very much lacking in order to achieve our objectives, our aspiration… to change, reform the system,” Mr. Ebrahim said in his speech at Monday’s ceremony held at the Bangsamoro government center in Cotabato City. “We can proudly say that we are successful in our next stage of struggle if we see a system built in moral governance,” he added. The Mindanao Peoples Caucus, following a mid-term review in October last year, recommended a three-year extension by moving the elections to 2025 to allow the interim government to complete its work of institutionalizing policies and procedures in line with RA 11054 and the terms of the peace agreement. “The first year of the transition in 2019 was poured into building the new bureaucracy, institutionalizing moral governance, and hiring of personnel. The second year of transition in 2020 has been ultimately halted by Covid-19 which forced the Bangsamoro Government to redirect its priorities,” said BARMM Attorney General Sha-Elijah Dumama-Alba in a statement following discussions with members of the House of Representatives last week. Five bills have been filed in the House for the extension, but none yet in the Senate. President Rodrigo R. Duterte has expressed support to extending the transition period. — MSJ

Dumpsite in Tanza, Cavite shut down

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Friday shut down a six-hectare open dumpsite in Tanza, Cavite, which was operating in violation of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. A report from the department’s Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office showed that the privately-owned dumpsite has accumulated 180,000-cubic meters or a three-meter high mix of solid waste. DENR, in a press statement, said it sealed the entry points of the wasteyard in Barangay Sahud-Ulan in coordination with its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). DENR Undersecretary Benny D. Antiporda, who led the operations, said that the government “will not hesitate to apprehend operators of illegal waste disposal sites and go after all open dumpsite operators in the country.” Under RA 9003, all dumpsites should have been closed or converted into sanitary landfills by 2006. As the DENR waits for the results of the investigation, Mr. Antiporda said they would talk to the local officials of Tanza to explain the dumpsite’s existence. He has also instructed the local environment office to prepare a rehabilitation plan for the site. — Angelica Y. Yang

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