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Lorenzana backs term extension for Bangsamoro Transition Authority

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Wednesday that he is in favor of postponing the elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARRM) to give local leaders more time to institute reforms.

Lorenzana was referring to the pending measures in Congress extending the tenure of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) until 2025.

“I agree, I support that [postponement], and the President knows that. Three years is not enough for the new leaders to set up an infrastructure of good governance. They have to craft at least eight laws and implement decommissioning of troops, among others,” Lorenzana said in a Rappler interview.

The BTA is supposed to oversee the BARMM until the May 2022 regional polls, which would be held simultaneous with the 2022 national and local elections.

Lorenzana, however, argued that not all members of the BTA had a long experience in governance.

“There are those who are starting from zero. They were not mayors, governors beforehand. Let us give them their jobs for another three years, and after that, let us hold the elections,” he added.

Among those opposed to extension of BTA tenure are Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan and Cotabato City Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi.

The ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law in February 2019 via a plebiscite paved the way for the creation of the BARMM and abolition of the old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The BARMM includes Cotabato City, 63 barangays in the municipalities of  Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pigkawayan, and Pikit in North Cotabato. It has expanded land and water jurisdiction, fiscal autonomy, increased share in national government resources, among others.—AOL, GMA News