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Online petition for BARMM transition bill gains traction




THE PETITION posted online asking President Rodrigo R. Duterte to call on Congress to urgently pass the bills for the Bangsamoro transition period got about 320,000 two weeks after it was posted.

The Movement for Moral Governance and the Mindanao People’s Caucus (MPC), the groups behind the petition, have continued to push for more people to sign it as it targets one million signatures.

“We will work night and day to reach our one million target. We hope through this effort, we will be able to get the listening ears, not only of the President but also the honorable legislators in Congress”, Maudi Maadil, MPC campaign officer, said.

The groups, in a statement, added that online citizens as far as Abra and Benguet in Luzon and Bohol and Antique in the Visayas signed the petition which so far got about 508.000 signatures as of Tuesday morning.

Also supporting the move were educational institutions in Mindanao like the Ateneo de Davao University, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, and Xavier University. These institutions even set up booths on their campuses so people could affix their signatures on the petition.

In the case of the Mindanao State University – with its president, Dr. Habib Macaayong, supporting the move – its entire system of 11 campuses has been mobilized to encourage students to join the clamor.

Other students, including those from the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College, have also been encouraged by their president, Dr. Sema Delna, to join the move.

After years of being outside the Moro autonomous region, Cotabato City has finally become part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the interim regional body tasked to lead in the implementation of the peace agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the government.

Under the organic law creating the regional government, the transition period should end by next year and officials for the regional government should be elected.

However, movers behind the extension period want another three more years because of the bulk of work that has yet to be completed especially because of the drastic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the policies that need to be completed includes the decommissioning of the remaining 40,000 armed regulars of the revolutionary movement.

Earlier, President Duterte also expressed his support for the three-year extension period, although he has yet to certify as urgent the bills pending in Congress for the purpose.

Solon pushing for
anti-corruption office

Meanwhile, a lawmaker of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has proposed the creation of Bantay – Korupsyon Office to give teeth to the regional government’s thrust for moral governance.

BARMM Parliament Member Mohammad S. Yacob, author of the proposal, said Monday that he filed the bill before the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, the region’s lawmaking body, as a deterrent to graft and corruption-free regional government.

Docketed as Parliament Bill No. 67, Yacob said the Bantay-Korupsyon Office would be the primary authority in investigating complaints involving graft and corruption against any public officer and employees of the regional government and its constituent-local government units, as well as their co-principals, accomplices, and accessories from the private sector if any.

During the formation of the BTA in March 2019, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim has emphasized the establishment of the region hinged on moral governance.

Ebrahim defines moral governance as a set of rules, practices, and processes completely devoid of all the evils of graft and corruption and explicitly driven by the moral principles of utmost dedication, devotion, honesty, justice, and integrity.

“The chief minister believes that only through moral governance can our government be truly set in the teachings of Islam that is to enjoin good and forbidding evil,” Yacob said on the bill’s explanatory note.

He said that the BTA parliament must pass the bill into law, with Ebrahim overseeing the Bantay-Korupsyon Office function. (with reports from PNA)

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