Incumbent BTA members to continue in holdover capacity; next President may appoint new set of members

Group photo of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority with Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity Carlito Galvez, Jr. and the last governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Mujiv Hataman during the turnover rites from the ARMM to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City on February 26, 2019. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 11 March) – The current members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) will continue in office in a holdover capacity until June 30, 2022, to allow the next President to appoint a new set of officials, senior government officials said.

Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, said that President Rodrigo Duterte officially approved last March 3 the proposal to maintain the current composition of the BTA, the interim government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

In the memorandum issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on the abovementioned date, he stated: “In the exigency of public service, and in accordance with Section 2 of Republic Act No. 11593, otherwise known as ‘An Act Resetting the First Regular Elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,’ please be informed that the request to maintain the current composition of the BTA is hereby approved. The incumbent members of the BTA shall continue in office in a holdover capacity, until otherwise directed by the Office of the President.”

“In a holdover capacity, the terms of office of the BTA members are tied to the appointing authority, which in this case is President Duterte. This is to allow the next President to appoint a new set of BTA members once he or she assumes office,” Galvez explained in a statement issued Thursday.

Duterte is due to step down from power on June 30, 2022 after six years in office.

In a joint statement Friday last week, the Security, Justice and Peace Cabinet Cluster (SJPCC) announced that Duterte had approved their recommendation to maintain the status quo on the membership of the 80-member BTA last February 21.

Apart from Galvez, the SJPCC is composed of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. of the National Security Council.

The SJPCC earlier recommended to the President to keep the status quo in the BTA based on Resolution No. 173 issued by the BTA on 12 October 2021, and subsequently, Resolution No. 209 dated 15 February 2022.

In Resolution No. 173, the BTA requested Duterte to allow the incumbent BTA members to continue carrying out their mandate in order to preserve the gains achieved under the body’s various programs, projects and legislative measures.

In resolution No. 209, the BTA appealed to Duterte to give primary consideration to the re-appointment of BTA members who are nominated by the national government, “as this will ensure a smooth transition process without the possibility of any political disruptions taking place.” 

Galvez said the SJPCC made the recommendation in light of the fact that only three months remain before the newly-elected administration takes over the reins of government.

“This period would give the incumbent BTA members the time to complete their deliverables until June of this year,” he said.

The BARMM was created in January 2019 following the plebiscite that ratified Republic 11054 or the Organic Law for the BARMM. The following month, Duterte named the members of the BTA, led by Ahod Ebrahim, popularly known as Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The creation of the Bangsamoro region is the major component of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the final peace agreement signed by the government and the MILF in 2014 after 17 years of negotiations. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)