MANILA - Cotabato City mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi on Thursday criticized a proposal to extend the transition period for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) until 2025.
"More than 2 years na, ano ba ang nangyari? (What has happened) Nothing happened. And you need another 3 years? Grabe na ang paghihirap ng tao niyan (The people will suffer more)," she told ANC's "Matters of Fact."
BARMM is the region created in Mindanao out of the peace agreement between government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is seen as key to ending the decades-long rebellion in the restive south.
The Bangsamoro Transition Authority had said the coronavirus pandemic deprived them of time to carry out the transition, including programs, projects, and services.
The interim period lapses in 2022 and an extension for another 3 years will allow the parliament to fulfill its mandate, the group added.
Sayadi said the BTA, which serves as the interim government, did not listen to the complaints and concerns of the public. Issues such as delayed payment of salaries for teachers and health-care workers have been unresolved, she said.
"You know, 'pag nasa gobyerno ka (if you are in the government), you can't wait na sasabihin mo (and say), 'Sandali lang (Hold on). You give me another 3 years.' No, terms are specific. The tenures of office are specific," Sayadi said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier backed a proposal by Bangsamoro Transition Authority officials to extend the transition period by 3 years.
On Facebook, regional interior minister Naguib Sinarimbo had said Cotabato City was set to be officially transferred to BARMM jurisdiction in December.
"The IGRB or Inter Governmental Relations Body in its 5th meeting today agreed to undertake the turnover ceremony for Cotabato City this December 15, 2020," he wrote.
"Now the mandate of the people expressed in the plebiscite will be fulfilled. Thank you everyone."
Sayadi earlier opposed the inclusion of Cotabato City, an independent city in Maguindanao province but used to belong to the Soccsksargen, in BARMM.
She had filed a petition before the Supreme Court questioning the results of the plebiscite.
BARMM is composed of provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi; and Cotabato City and 63 barangays of North Cotabato.