COTABATO CITY: An online petition urging President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent the pending bills in Congress on the proposed extension of the transition period of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has breached the 500,000 mark.
“The issuance of a certificate of urgency by national lawmakers is needed considering that we have a very limited window for their session in Congress,” lawyer Mary Ann Arnado of the Mindanao People’s Caucus (MPC), a peace advocacy group, said on Wednesday.
To date, Arnado said the signatories in the online petition have reached 535,953 since it was launched early last month.
“Considering the very limited session days remaining in Congress before it adjourns on June 4, 2021, there is a need to certify the pending bills so that it can be given more prominence and a sense of urgency given the equally important and competing concerns of the (legislative body),” she said in their petition.
She added that the Mindanao State University, Cotabato City State Polytechnic College, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Ateneo De Davao University, Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, and other academic institutions have signified their support to the petition.
Arnado added that other supporting organizations included the Sentro Soccsksargen and Save Sulu Movement (SSM).
Yul Aluya, the Civil Society Organizations Movement for Moral Governance representative, said that organizations such as the Bangsamoro Communication Network and Sangguniang Kabataan in North Cotabato have volunteered to help those who do not have internet access but want to sign the petition.
“It is important that President Duterte hears the voice of Mindanaoans in supporting the extension of the transition period in the BARMM up to 2025,” Aluya said. “The formation of the Bangsamoro region is one of the President’s legacy.”
Herbert Demos of Sentro Soccsksargen said that although they are not within the BARMM territory, it was important for Mindanaoans to support the Bangsamoro peace process.
“The future of our Bangsamoro brethren depends much on the success of BARMM for us to attain peace and unity in Mindanao,” he said.
Demos said that his organization has so far gathered 50,000 signatures from General Santos City, 10,000 from Sarangani, 10,000 from South Cotabato, and 5,000 in Sultan Kudarat.
On the other hand, Juhan Alihuddinsaid of the SSM said they have managed to garner 20,000 signatures in just three weeks since the petition started.
For his part, Abdulhadi Daguit, chairman of the Federation of Bangsamoro Coordinating Council of the Philippines, said they recently conducted barangay-to-barangay dialogues in Metro Manila, where they collected some 6,000 signatures.