More questions on new BTA appointment

Some people cannot just move on from disappointment. The issue on the appointment of new members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority continues to be a hot stuff in and out of Moro fora. They commented that some core democratic tenets are deteriorating fast in the governance of the nascent autonomous government. They claimed that the stakes are too high that we cannot just sweep the issue under the rug. It needs revisiting. The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao-BTA is such a precious trophy after a pyrrhic victory for the liberation fronts that a continuing dialogue is needed to filter ideas in the hope of shaping a better BTA in the future.

They observe one consideration that influenced some of the new appointments, i.e., pedigree. It was proffered by government as one factor in the vetting of new Deputies that, according to them, will unify the fractious Moro liberation fronts. So, we saw the appointment of the children of Misuari, Salamat, Sema and Jikiri, leaders of the different factions. But people ask: Is bloodline now a dominant factor in considering who merits appointment. What happens to Moro professionals who struggled hard to earn educational degrees hoping to serve BARMM, but are stunted because their surname is not Misuari, etc.? Is this now the accepted norm in the BARMM bureaucracy? Good intention as reasoned out by government is not good enough. It should be weighed upon its long term effect.

Social theorists and anthropologists opine that personality-based human organization does not last long vis-a-vis a cause oriented one. Once the personality ceases to be a factor, its raison d’etre loses steam, and the structure easily crumbles. On the other hand, principle-based grouping is sustainable and outlived personalities. The validity of this theory will be put to test in the BARMM.

Take note that aside from the 41 Moro Islamic Liberation Front nominees in BTA, a great number belong to the other faction of the front — the mother Moro National Liberation Front of chairperson Misuari and the breakaway group of Sema and Jekiri. Membership in the revolutionary movement preponderates over other considerations. Giving too much importance to these secessionist groups has the tendency to alienate the majority of the residents, who do not belong to these groups but are not less Moro nationalists. It is divisive. It creates repugnance. In case of a clash of interest, the non-rebels far outnumber the rebels. This situation encourages more cleavage within the ranks of the Moro, which will hamper the struggle for the better future of the region.

It will be interesting to note also that not all members of the BTA are Moros or Muslims, nor resident of BARMM territories. A report from media says that some are from “North Cotabato, indigenous groups who are not Moro, the Kagan community from Davao Oriental, as well as Christian communities from Davao and Cotabato City, according to the BARMM.” Why import people from other places when BARMM has a deep bench of qualified professionals who can very well do legislative work? This is revealing to some. Isn’t residency a basic qualification for appointment? Isn’t being a Moro or Muslim takes precedence over other applicants, all things being equal. What gives?

The Office of the Presidential Assistant on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity should explain this. It has advised the President on these appointments and should be prepared to face the consequences in case of failure.

To put it another way, if Allah forbids, BARMM fails, and the peace situation deteriorates, the blame is not on the BARMM leadership. They are trying to save their skin also and saddled with friction and factions within them. They haven’t recovered yet from the miscalculations they made in the last elections, which dinted heavily on their political stock. In fact, they are lucky for the statesmanlike act of the new dispensation despite their past electoral choice. The blame is entirely on the shoulder of Peace Adviser General Charlie Galvez and the circle of “wise” advisers of the President who conduct analysis and mock gameplay in the comfort of their air-conditioned swivel-chaired situation room.


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