UNITEAM senatorial candidate Herbert “Bistek” Bautista on Friday committed support for the development of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) following a meeting with senior BARMM ministers and speaking before the region’s parliamentary body.
According to Bautista, he was able to get a copy of the BARMM development plan. “Of course, this will be updated because of the extension given to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA),” said Bautista, who is running for senator under the Bongbong-Sara ticket on a platform of Internet reform, Livelihood for all, and Youth development or ILY.
The tenure of BTA has been extended until 2025 following appeals from BARMM officials to give them more time to lay the groundwork for a fully functioning government.
Bautista said he would go over the development plans of the autonomous region, the product of peace talks between the Philippine government and Moro rebels who had been waging a separatist war for decades.
“I want to see where I can help as a senator of the republic,” said Bautista, who has barged into the winning circle in the senatorial race according to results of the latest survey of Pulse Asia.
According to a 12-point agenda on the BARMM website, officials of the autonomous region planned to carry out special programs for the transition of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants and their families to a productive life.
The combatants would be listed as beneficiaries of 4Ps or “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program” – the government cash assistance program for the poor, and PhilHealth, the government-run health insurance company.
The agenda also listed plans to develop power sources and implement transparency, accountability, and prudent use of funds by the regional government.
Bautista earlier supported calls for the passage of the Marawi Compensation Bill into law before President Duterte’s term expired.
The law has been passed by Congress already and is awaiting the President’s signature.
Nearly 5 years since terror groups with links to Islamic State laid siege to Marawi City. At least 300,000 city residents remained displaced and living either in decrepit shelters or with relatives.
“The passage of the Marawi City Compensation Bill will be the legacy of the 18th Congress and the Duterte administration to the Maranao IDPs [internally displaced persons] and residents of ground zero in Marawi City,” he said.