Bangsamoro Youth in BARMM Appeals for BTA Extension until 2028

Group of Bangsamoro Youth stage a peaceful rally on Tuesday, May 14 at Cotabato City before the 2nd BTA Parliament’s Third Regular Session calling President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. for another BTA extension until 2028. (Photo by Tu Alid Alfonso, BMN/BangsamoroToday)

COTABATO CITY (May 15, 2024) — Youth groups in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) held a peace rally to call for the extension of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) until 2028 on Tuesday, May 14, at Bangsamoro Government Center (BGC) Main Gate here.

Mukhtar Taras Jr., spokesperson for the Youth Appeal for BTA Extension, outlined several key reasons for this call.

Taras emphasized that extending the BTA is crucial for building stability, raising consciousness, and preventing violence in the region. One significant benefit of extending the BTA, according to Taras, is the reduction of election-related violence, a common concern in the Bangsamoro region.

“Extending the transition allows for a more voter education campaign, and this would lead to a peaceful, honest, and credible 2028 elections,” he said.

Another critical reason for the extension is the ongoing normalization process, which is essential for fostering peace in Mindanao.

He said that many aspects of the normalization process, such as the disbandment of private armed groups, have not yet been fully realized. “The presence of these groups remains a significant threat in our region, and extending the BTA is necessary to ensure these processes are completed,” Taras added.

(Photo by Hasna U. Bacol, BMN/BangsamoroToday)

The continued presence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in areas where they were supposed to be withdrawn, as per the agreement, is another reason for seeking an extension. “We want the extension until 2028 to ensure that the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) are fully implemented,” said Taras.

Additionally, the socio-economic development promised to decommissioned combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has not yet been fully implemented.

Taras also called on all members of the Bangsamoro Parliament to pass the resolution extending the BTA until 2028. “We appeal to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to listen to the youth and extend the BTA. We believe this extension is vital for the sustainable development of BARMM and the successful realization of the CAB,” he said.

The youth leaders argue that extending the BTA is crucial for achieving lasting peace and justice in the Bangsamoro region. “We are united in our call for an extension until 2028, as we believe it will enable us to reach true peace and justice in the Bangsamoro,” Taras concluded.

In the past weeks, the Mindanao CSOs composed of 1000 non-government organizations including the League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO) have also conducted a series of campaigns to call President Marcos, Jr. to extend the transition period unlit 2028. (Hasna U. Bacol, BMN/BangsamoroToday)

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