Duterte hopes BTA can expedite establishment of regional gov’t

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 July) – President Rodrigo R. Duterte hopes the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority will expedite the establishment of the regional Bangsamoro government to propel its growth as “our Muslim brothers in the ARMM have been mired in poverty.”

President Rodrigo Duterte and leaders of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. MindaNews file photo by MANMAN DEJETO

In his fourth State of the Nation Address on Monday, Duterte said he wants the BTA to hasten the process to give the Moro and the indigenous peoples in the Bangsamoro territory a comfortable life after the ratification of Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OLBARMM), the enabling mechanism of the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, after almost two decades of peace negotiation.

The BTA will govern BARMM until the regular elections in 2022.

Speaking in a media forum on the Bangsamoro Peace Process and Violent Extremism in Davao City in August 2018, Undersecretary Nabil Tan, of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, said the proposed Bangsamoro region will have more means to develop itself as it will keep all tax collections for the first 10 years.

After that, the Bangsamoro government will get 75% from local taxes and 25% will go to the national government, he added.

The OLBARMM provides for the annual block grants that are automatically appropriated for the region and special development fund to be allotted for the rehabilitation of conflict-ravaged communities.

Duterte also mentioned the vision of late Mindanao Development Authority chair Abul Khayr Alonto for a “progressive, peaceful, and united Mindanao during our lifetime.”

The President said he took helm of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and assigned a Cabinet member to each region to harmonize government efforts in attaining national development and security.

MinDA public relations head Adrian Tamayo said the new leadership of MinDA will continue advocating for the bigger budget share which is a necessity to fund the peace programs and the construction of strategic infrastructures that will connect all regions of Mindanao to other islands and to neighboring countries through the BIMP-EAGA. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)