MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. vowed his government's "full and unwavering" support for the peace process in the Bangsamoro region, as its transition authority parliament opened its session Thursday.
Marcos said the proposed budget for the region in 2023, pegged at P74.4 billion, could be used to deliver the region's commitment to its people.
He also urged its parliament to pass "crucial legislations" or policies such as taxation and the conduct of their elections in 2025.
"We are steadfast in our commitment to the peace process here in Southern Philippines so we push for socio-economic development, interventions to promote peace and development in areas affected by decades of conflict," he said during the Bangsamoro Transition Authority Parliament's opening session in Cotabato City.
"I also encourage the BTA to pass measures that will secure the welfare of the moro people, particularly in agri-fishery, health care, and transportation, communications, digital infrastructure, and e-governance," he added.
Meanwhile, BTA Interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim said they would file "more than 20 Cabinet bills" at the start of the parliament's formal session.
These bills, he said, include priority measures such as the Bangsamoro Electoral Code and the Bangsamoro Government Code, which they aim to pass by the end of this year or early 2023.
"Rest assured that we will complete all the remaining transition priorities and finish setting up the government not only ready for a peaceful and orderly election in 2025 but also a government capable of continuing the transformation of the barmm into a progressive and responsive region," said Ebrahim.
Ebrahim said he would personally hand over to Marcos 20 copies of the draft Bangsamoro Electoral Code and the draft Bangsamoro Local Government Code.
For the duration of transition period, he said the Bangsamoro parliament aims to enact the following:
- Bangsamoro Indigenous People's Rights
- Gender and Development Code
- Internally Displaced People's Loans
- Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities
- Irrigation System Bill
- Energy Development Corporation of the Bangsamoro Charter
Lawyer Pangalian Balindong was reelected as the Parliament Speaker during the inaugural BTA Parliament session for 2022-2025, a press release showed.
The other new parliament officers are the following:
- Atty. Lanang Ali Jr. - Deputy Speaker
- Hatimil Hassan - Deputy Speaker
- Atty. Nabil Tan - Deputy Speaker
- Atty. Omar Yasser Sema - Deputy Speaker
- Atty. Paisalin Tago, Deputy Speaker
- Benjamin Loong, Deputy Speaker
- Abdulkarim Misuari, Deputy Speaker
- Atty. Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba, Majority Leader
- Prof. Raby Angkal, Secretary-General
- Abdulgani Caludtiag, Sergeant-at-Arms
The BTA is mandated to address peace and security concerns, social problems, boost economic activity, and keep the stability "between ethnic clans and economic classes" in the region.
BARMM's transition period was extended for another 3 years after former President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11593 on October 28, 2021.
The law rescheduled the regional parliamentary elections in BARMM to 2025.
Marcos, during the BTA members' oath-taking in Malacañang last August urged the officials to already pass several measures as he stressed that there would no longer be another extension.