President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has reappointed Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) chief minister Chairman Ahod Balawag Ebrahim and his group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), maintained majority control of the 80-member regional parliament.

The new president approved 40 other nominees of the former rebel group to the interim body including key leaders — Abdullah Goldiano Macapaar, Mohagher Mohmmad Iqbal, and Eduard Uy Guerra — who served as ministers of various Bangsamoro departments during the first three years of the BTA. 

They took their oath before Marcos in Malacañang on Friday, August 12, ending speculation about a possible leadership shakeup in the autonomous region after MILF’s endorsement of Marcos’ rival during the May 2022 elections. 

The BTA is the interim government in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. BARMM enjoys greater fiscal autonomy and wider power on land and resources in the region.

The appointments were a “happy surprise,” said Initiative for International Dialogue (IID) executive director Gus Miclat. He was previously concerned about Marcos’ silence on his plans for the BARMM during his inaugural speech and his first State of the Nation Address. 

But there’s “no need for them (MILF) to feel ingratiated with the Marcos administration as it is their right to be reappointed,” said Miclat. 

“It’s nice to see some new good blood, too, from both sides; and from other Moro factions such as MNLF-Misuari,” he said, referring to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari. 

The other 39 members of the parliament were chosen by the government. They include the children of Misuari and Muslimin Sema, leaders of  two factions of the MNLF, the group that MILF broke away from in 1977.

Misuari’s children Abdulkarim Tan Misuari and Nurredha Ibrahim Misuari also took their oath in Malacañang on Friday. Omar Yasser Crisostomo Sema and Romeo Kabuntalan Sema were reappointed, based on the list of BTA members released by the BARMM. 

Members of the minority bloc were also reappointed.

Benedicto Bacani of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance also noted the “special preferences” Marcos gave the MILF and the MNLF and praised how Marcos mixed the formerl rebels with "bureaucrats with good track record in governance."

A BARMM statement said the new BTA is composed of lawyers, lawyer-certified public accountants, engineers, teachers, doctors, architects, media practitioners, politicians, former elected officials at the local levels, and government bureaucrats.

“Only a few  of the nominees of local politicians who supported him in the national elections have been appointed. Political payback was less a driver in the appointments by the President,” Bacani added. 

The first regular elections of the autonomous region were supposed to have been held in May 2022 but the MILF called for an extension of the transition period for another three years, citing challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic. It was approved by Congress last year. 

Local politicians in the region lobbied Congress to reconstitute the BTA and allocate seats for local government units but the lawmakers decided to give the president the power to decide its composition.

Still, BARMM said the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and the North Cotabato villages that voted to join BARMM are all represented in the BTA. 

Indigenous peoples who are not Moro, the Kalagan or Kagan community in Davao Oriental, and Christian or settler communities in Davao City and Cotabato City are also represented, it said. 

BARMM was established in 2019 following a plebiscite that  approved the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which contains agreements in a peace process between the government and the MILF. The law also guaranteed MILF’s majority control of the parliament during a three-year transition period. 

The BTA can now focus on “completing its unfinished business,” said Bacani. “Hopefully, the MILF-led BTA shall build regional political structures and policies in the next three years of the political transition in a way that is accountable and inclusive not motivated by partisan and transactional politics following the lead of President Marcos in the choice of BTA members. The biggest pitfall for the BTA is to make the transition only as an extended campaign period for the 2025 elections,” he said. 

Transitional justice concerns should also be prioritized, said Miclat. 

“They just need to proceed in earnest but be extra mindful that normalization will not fly if fundamental transitional justice concerns are not prioritized also. They also need to pay extra attention to addressing issues of the IPs and settler,  if any, within their territory,” he said. 

 

Below is the new composition of the BTA, based on a list released by the BARMM:

 

1.       MR. AHOD BALAWAG EBRAHIM

2.       MR. ABDULLAH EBUS GAYAK

3.       MR. ABDULLAH BISTON HASHIM

4.       ABDULLAH GOLDIANO MACAPAAR

5.       ABDULRAOF ABDUL MACACUA

6.       ABDULWAHAB MOHAMMAD PAK

7.       AIDA MACALIMPAS SILONGAN

8.       AKMAD INDIGAY ABAS

9.       ALI OMAR SALIK

10.   ALI BANGCOLA SOLAIMAN

11.   AMROUSSI AMPUAN MACATANONG

12.   ANNA TARHATA SUMANDE BASMAN

13.   BAI MALEIHA BAJUNAID CANDAO

14.   BAILENG SIMPAL MANTAWIL

15.   BASIT SARIP ABBAS

16.   BENJAMIN TUPAY LOONG

17.   DAN SALA ASNAWIE

18.   EDDIE MAPAG ALIH

19.   EDUARD UY GUERRA

20.   HARON MUHAMMAD ABAS

21.   HUSSEIN PALMA MUÑOZ

22.   IBRAHIM DUMARAAG ALI

23.   KADIL MONERA SINOLINDING. JR

24.   LANANG TAPODOC ALI. JR

25.   MARJANIE SALIC MACASALONG

26.   MARY ANN MADROÑO ARNADO

27.   MATARUL MATARUL ESTINO

28.   MOHAGHER MOHAMMAD IQBAL

29.   MOHAMMAD SHUAIB YACOB

30.   MOSBER ENTOL ALAUDDIN

31.   MUDJIB COMPANIA ABU

32.   PANGALIAN MACAORAO BALINDONG

33.   RAISSA HERRADURA JAJURIE

34.   RAMON ALEJANDRO PIANG SR.

35.   SAID ZAMAHSARI SALENDAB

36.   SAID MANGGIS SHIEK

37.   SHA ELIJAH BIRUAR DUMAMA-ALBA

38.   SUHARTO SANDAYAN ESMAEL

39.   SUWAIB LATIP ORANON

40.   TAWAKAL BUGA MIDTIMBANG

41.   UBAIDA CASAD PACASEM

42.   ALI MONTAHA DATU HARON BABAO

43.   HATIMIL ESMAIL HASSAN

44.   MUSLIMIN ASALIM JAKILAN

45.   ALBAKIL DASANI JIKIRI

46.   FAISAL GUIABAR KARON

47.   OMAR YASSER CRISOSTOMO SEMA

48.   ADZFAR HAILID USMAN

49.   ABDULKARIM TAN MISUARI

50.   NURREDHA IBRAHIM MISUARI

51.   DENMARTIN ABDUKAHIL KAHALAN

52.   ABDULAZIZ MANGANDAKI AMENODIN

53.   HAMID UDDIN MALIK

54.   TARHATA MATALAM MAGLANGIT

55.   RANDOLPH CLIMACO PARCASIO

56.   LAISA MASUHUD ALAMIA

57.   RASOL YAP MITMUG, JR.

58.   BAINTAN ADIL AMPATUAN

59.   JOSE IRIBANI LORENA

60.   NABIL ALFAD TAN

61.   SUHARTO MASTURA AMBOLODTO

62.   DON MUSTAPHA ARBISON LOONG

63.   AMILBAHAR SADDALANI MAWALLIL

64.   RASUL ENDEREZ ISMAEL

65.   SUSANA SALVADOR ANAYATIN

66.   ROMEO KABUNTALAN SEMA

67.   FROILYN TENORIO MENDOZA

68.   ISHAK VELOSO MASTURA

69.   ALI BALAYMAN SANGKI

70.   NABILA MARGARITA PACASUM PANGANDAMAN

71.   DIAMILA DISIMBAN RAMOS

72.   JOHN ANTHONY LACBAO LIM

73.   HASHEMI NUR DILANGALEN

74.   SITTIE FAHANIE SINDATOK UY-OYOD

75.   JAAFAR APOLLO MIKHAIL LINTONGAN MATALAM

76.   BASSIR DIMAUKOM UTTO

77.   KHALID MA-AMPOR HADJI ABDULLAH

78.   MICHAEL ENIT MIDTIMBANG

79.   MOHAMMAD KELIE UGALINGAN ANTAO

80.   PAISALIN PANGANDAMAN TAGO

 


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