(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday welcomed President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s prompt appointment of members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), saying it is a step closer to achieving genuine peace and development in Mindanao.

Napakaganda at very motivating na umpisa ito. Ever since, walang ibang inaasam ang ating mga Muslim brothers kundi magkaroon ng long and lasting peace sa Mindanao. Sama-sama silang nanumpa sa harap ni Pangulong Marcos (It's a beautiful and very motivating start. Ever since, our Muslim brothers have no other desire than to have long and lasting peace in Mindanao. They (BTA members) all took their oath before President Marcos). It is a manifestation of heeding the call of the President for unity,” said PNP chief, Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., in an interview with Radyo Pilipinas.

Azurin said this aspiration of the people of Mindanao dates back to the time when he was still serving as a police lieutenant assigned to the region, formerly known as the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Sana po ay magtuloy-tuloy na ang adhikain na yan nang sa gayon ay 'yung development ay makarating diyan dahil pag nakita ng mga tao na peaceful at may rule of law, sa isang lugar, magkakaroon po tayo ng mga investor. Definitely, maraming jobs na make-create at magbo-boom ang tourism na makakatulong sa adhikain ng ating Pangulo for a robust economy (I hope that this aspiration will continue to be realized so that development will finally come. If the people see that there is rule of law prevailing in an area, we will have investors. It will generate many jobs and spur tourism which will help achieve the President's vision of a robust economy),” he said.

On Aug. 12, Marcos administered the oath of office to 80 newly and re-appointed members of the BTA, 41 of which are from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) while 39 were endorsed by the government.

The peace process with the Bangsamoro started with the signing of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairperson Nur Misuari during the term of Marcos' father and namesake, the late former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

The BTA is the interim government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

It is an 80-member governing body tasked to pass crucial legislations to operationalize the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and exercise legislative and executive powers during the region’s transition period.

The BOL specifies that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) shall lead the BTA, without prejudice to the participation of the MNLF.

The ratification of the Republic Act No. (RA) 11054 or the BOL through a plebiscite held in 2019 paved the way for the creation of the BARMM, as well as the establishment of the BTA.

In 2021, former President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA 11593 which postponed elections in BARMM that was scheduled to be held this year, and consequently, extending the transition period of the BTA to 2025. (PNA)