MANILA—Alleged election irregularities may have marred the Bangsamoro plebiscite but these will not hinder the transition process, an expert said Saturday.
Professor Julkipli Wadi of the UP Institute of Islamic Studies said the new Bangsamoro government should be inclusive and not dominated by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Wadi said other groups, including the Moro National Liberation Front, should be considered as members of the new Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
"I think the MILF has to also be inclusive with other groups and leaders in the area . . . I think it is very timely that the BTA would be really inclusive and participated by various sectors of Bangsamoro if only for the MILF to show that it is really open to other groups and personalities to participate in the governance and democracy of the future BARMM," Wadi told ANC.
The new law for the Muslim minority in southern Philippines was ratified Friday night, paving the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The new region will be composed of the existing 5 provinces of ARMM, and Cotabato City, in what is considered a crucial victory for the MILF.
Isabela City in Basilan, meanwhile, opted out of the BARMM.
Despite voting against the law, Wadi said the local government of Isabela City would still exist and have the powers and responsibilities vested by the local government code.
"It's just like any other normal political entity or city it would still function according to traditional structure, except that Isabela will not receive development funds from the Bangsamoro Region. It has to rely on the national gov't," Wadi said.
The MILF, meanwhile, warned that the city could become an island inside Basilan.
MILF vice-chairman Ghazali Jaafar said Isabela City could be left out of the region's development programs.
"Isabela will be left out, and that is not good for the people of Isabela City. I think, as far as I'm concerned, the people of Isabela City should also profit in the coming progress and development of the Bangsamoro government," he said.
"If the people of Isabela City choose not to be included in the Bangsamoro government, that is their decision. Kung maghirap man sila sapagkat magiging island sila sa Basilan, well, yun ang pinili nila... But they remain our brothers and sisters."
Isabela City vice-mayor Cherry Akbar on Friday said her constituents would still benefit from the projects and programs of BARMM in Basilan.