MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 25, outlined lofty plans for the country under his administration, yet was silent on matters concerning the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The newly-elected president made no mention of issues related to the unfinished rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City, and the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), among others.
“It indicates some amount of uncertainty and insecurity in terms of the future of the Bangsomoro Transition Authority (BTA), and other issues in relation to the political transition,” Francisco Lara Jr., Senior Peace and Conflict Adviser of International Alert said during the press briefing of their newly-launched study on Thursday, July 28, at New World Hotel in Makati City.
“Conflict’s Long Game: A Decade of Violence in the Bangsomoro,” is a compendium of studies by International Alert, which highlights the decline of violence in BARMM from 2011 to 2020.
According to the study, landmark political settlements like the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsomoro, the Bangsomoro Organic Law (BOL), and the imposition of Martial Law have effectively curbed conflict in the region.
Yet the road to genuine peace remains challenged by development, political, and economic issues that have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are two transitions happening at the same time. We’re transitioning from conflict to peace under the peace agreement, the BTA, the BOL, and the BARMM,” Lara said. She added: “But we’re also transitioning from the Duterte to the Marcos administration. Those two transitions hold a lot of challenges for the Bangsomoro.”
Currently, appointments to the 80-seat BTA are expected to be announced by the government soon. The newly-appointed members are set to serve until June 30, 2025 or until the election of their successors. (READ: Who’s who in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority)
However, there has been no further word from the Marcos administration on this.
The most recent development has been the extension of Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr.’s term as head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU), who also served under former president Rodrigo Duterte. – Rappler.com