Lanao’s civil society orgs hold peace caravan for transition extension

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 14 March) – Representatives of civil society organizations from Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte on Saturday  a caravan and motorcade for peace in support of the extension of the Bangsamoro transition period for another three years, from 2022 to 2025.

The peace caravan was organized by the Ranaw Confederation for Peace, in collaboration with One Bangsamoro Movement (1Bangsa), MoroAko, and the Coalition of Moro Youth Movement.

Participants of a peace caravan sign a manifesto during a short stop in Matling, Malabang in Lanao del Sur on Saturday, 12 March 2021, urging President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent the bills seeking to extend the transition period in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for another three years from 2022 to 2025. (Photo courtesy of Ariel Amerol, Bangsamoro Development Agency)

The event was held in support of the call to extend the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA). Saadiyah Jalaliyah Amerol,  one of the caravan participants said they joined “to demand that the bills currently filed in Congress on the extension be tagged as urgent as this is a necessary step forward toward sustainable peace.”

A signature campaign was launched in Malabang, one of the stops of the motorcade and caravan, Nearly15,000 persons signed a manifesto expressing support for said extension.

Abubakar Hajiraof, one of the signatories of the manifesto said the extension of the transition period “will allow for the continuation of all the work that has been done to achieve progress and long lasting peace in the Bangsamoro.”

The nine-paragraph “Manifesto of Support for the Extension of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to 2025” which was speareheaded by the youth sector, urged President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent the bills filed in Congress to extend the transition period to 2025 by resetting the date of the 1st election of the 80-member Bangsamoro Parliament from May 2022 to May 2025.

“The execution and implementation of the mandate of the BTA was significantly hampered by the challenges brought about by the pandemic. First world countries around the world with long established bureaucracies and institutions felt the impact of the COVID-19, how much more for a newly constituted Bangsamoro Government which is still in transition. By this mere fact alone, we find the statutory period of the BTA inadequate,” the manifesto read.

The manilfesto said the Bangsamoro youth “takes the moral high ground in joining the call for the BTA extension on account of the quest for a long lasting peace in the region which will pave the way for a progressive Bangsamoro.”

It emphasized that the transition process is not just a simple governmental transition but “a transition from the long history of armed conflict in the region to the institutionalization of culture of peace and prosperity among the Bangsamoro people.”

The caravan involved around 3,000 vehicles. Its assembly point was at the Ministry of Public Works-BARMM in Barangay Matamapy, Marawi City at 7 am., traversing Marawi, Overton, Iligan Cit7, Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Malabang, Ganassin, Masiu and back to Marawi.  (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)