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MILF ‘is ready in terms of determination’ – OPAPP official

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By Francis Wakefield

Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser Nabil Tan appealed to the public, followers, and politicians to give the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) a chance because the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) is once in a lifetime

“Implementing this agreement is like the finale. Otherwise, we will be falling into the trap of violent extremism,” Tan said in Pasig City.

Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser Nabil Tan (OPAPP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser Nabil Tan (OPAPP / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) recent proclamation of the official results of the plebiscites on the BOL held on January 21 and February 6 will pave the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the interim government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The BTA will be composed of 80 members who were appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte. It will be led by a chief minister and two deputy chief ministers.

Incumbent officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) government will also be part of the interim body until their term of office ends on June 30, 2019.

With the BOL’s ratification, the ARMM is abolished and will be replaced by the BARMM which will have a Parliamentary form of government.

“Mayroong significant tasking ang BTA tulad ng important legislations na dapat mapasa. Unang-una ‘yong Bangsamoro Administrative Code, Bangsamoro Revenue Code, Bangsamoro Electoral Code, Bangsamoro Local Government Code, Bangsamoro Education Code (The BTA had its significant tasking such as important legislations that need to be passed. First is the Bangsamoro Administrative Code, Bangsamoro Revenue Code, Bangsamoro Electoral Code, Bangsamoro Local Government Code, and Bangsamoro Education Code),” Tan said.

The BTA, he added, may also craft a Bangsamoro Civil Service Code but it will still be subject to the review and approval of the Civil Service Commission.

MILF in governance

When asked how ready the MILF is to handle the affairs of government, Tan said “no one is 100 percent ready.”

“However, they are ready in terms of [having the] determination to achieve good governance. Iba ‘yong sincerity nila [MILF] to govern and avoid corruption,” he added.

In line with the BTA’s operationalization, the national government is asking the help of various academic institutions such as the Development Academy of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University in mentoring the MILF on the fundamentals of governance.

The ratification of the BOL will also lead to the implementation of the Normalization track of the GPH-MILF peace agreement wherein 30 percent of all MILF combatants will be decommissioned.

“We have prepared for the socio-economic packages for the combatants and their families. We are also preparing for the whole transformation of the camps. I hope we’d have one direction that is corruption-free and effective in governance,” Tan said.

The plebiscite for the ratification of the BOL was held in the core territories of the ARMM, Cotabato City, and Isabela City in Basilan. A total of 1,737,767 votes were cast with a voter turnout of 87.80%.

On the other hand, 63 out of the 67 barangays in North Cotabato voted for their inclusion in the BARMM.

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