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BTA backs Cha-Cha moves

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 14:45 PM Thu Feb 22, 2024
Edwin O. Fernandez

COTABATO CITY - The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) parliament has expressed support to calls for charter change to resolve Constitutional issues in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement (CAB) that necessitates amendment of the 1987 Constitution.

The stance of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) was contained in Parliament Resolution No. 521 which the regional lawmakers unanimously adopted on Wednesday afternoon.

“While the proponents for charter change intend only to change limited economic provisions in the Constitution, the Bangsamoro Parliament suggests that including certain peace provisions for an amendment to accommodate the asymmetrical relationship between the national government and the Bangsamoro is also equally as important,” the resolution said.

“The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) already found a peace formula, however, it demands constitutional amendment to be fully enforced and comprehensively implemented,” it added.

BTA Speaker Pangalian Balindong said that members of the BTA have sworn allegiance to the Constitution. “However, the 1987 Constitution is not cast in stone and is open to amendment to adapt to the changing conditions of the time."

The resolution also said that amending the Constitution to accommodate necessary provisions for the full implementation of the peace agreement “is a prudent and responsible course of action, ensuring that the Bangsamoro people are afforded the rights, autonomy, and resources they are entitled to under the peace accord, ensuring the participation of all stakeholders particularly the Bangsamoro people, in the decision-making process.

The BTA resolution also calls on all relevant stakeholders, civil society organizations, indigenous peoples, and other concerned sectors to actively engage in consultations and dialogues to galvanize massive support for charter change.

In his privileged speech before the approval and adoption of the resolution, Speaker Balindong stressed that “it is a fact that sometimes the fate of the Bangsamoro people depends on the whims and caprices of our national leadership.”

“We make concessions, haggle for a better deal, and dance to the tune of their own music simply because they have the power to make or unmake our autonomous government. We cannot forever rely on such executive and legislative liberality or generosity,” he said, adding “What is therefore needed is to expand the scope of the powers of the regional government in the next constitution.”

“I would like to see the term “asymmetric relations” included in the constitution, which concerns our relationship with the national government as defined in the present BOL and grants us distinctive powers that are not available to other political subdivisions in the country,” he said.

“In short, I would like to see the barest minimum expanded powers of the regional government in the BOL reflected in the new constitutional franchise,” Balindong added. 

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