On 12 August 2022, I witnessed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. administer the oath to the 80 members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) in a ceremony at Malacañang Palace. The United Nations welcomes the President’s prompt appointment of the BTA members, which indicates his prioritization of the peace process and its successful implementation.
The composition of the BTA with newly and re-appointed members is expected to allow for a smooth transition process and continuity of BTA programs, projects, and legislative measures on the one hand, and greater inclusivity representing all the major MILF and MNLF factions and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)’s diverse communities for the first time, reiterating the President’s call for unity. We also welcome the experienced and well-qualified women BTA members.
Following this important milestone, the expected appointment of members to the peace process mechanisms, including the Intergovernmental Relations Body (IGRB), the Government of the Philippines Peace Panel, the Normalization Joint Taskforces and the Amnesty Commission, will also contribute to the accelerated joint implementation of the political and normalization tracks of the peace agreement. More women appointees here – and there are many qualified and experienced women to choose from – would also contribute to sustainable peacebuilding as the best peacebuilding practice around the world has demonstrated.
As a longstanding partner of the Bangsamoro, the United Nations (UN) and its partners remain committed to continue promoting peace in the Bangsamoro by strengthening the foundations for inclusive institutions, and sustainable development, and respect and protection of human rights.
UN support to BARMM comprises the contribution of more than 10 resource partners, including the UN Peacebuilding Fund, as well as joint work and coordination with the Office of Presidential Advisor on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity which has significantly contributed to the consolidation of peace efforts in the region.
In 2021, the UN system represented by 15 agencies and more than 200 staff members in BARMM provided direct support and technical assistance to relevant government agencies in a wide range of development, peace and state building sectors through projects in Marawi City, Cotabato City, the “SPMS Box,” Butig, Malabang, Lamitan City, Jolo, Bongao, Upi, South Upi, Talayan, among others. The deployment of an Area Coordinator to Cotabato in November 2021 formally established the UN’s Joint UN Coordination Office in BARMM, and will reinforce the UN’s work in the region.
The UN congratulates all the national and local stakeholders who have contributed to this important milestone and looks forward to supporting the joint implementation of the political and normalization tracks of this landmark Bangsamoro peace agreement.