Duterte to Name Bangsamoro Transition Commission Soon

 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during his address to a Filipino business sector.

 

Davao City, Philippines, 03 Rabiul Akhir 1438/02 January 2017 (MINA) – President Duterte is expected to name this month the 21 persons who will comprise the new and expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

The rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is at the same time awaiting the resumption of formal talks with government soon, after these were postponed for the holidays.

The MILF is also looking forward to the appointment of BTC members, as this could pave the way for the crafting of a new Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“By January, the President is expected to appoint the members,” Phlstar quoted Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza aas saying.

Created by Duterte’s Executive Order No. 8 last November, the BTC is one of the mechanisms under a comprehensive deal between the government and the MILF. Its task is to draft an enabling law that will establish a Bangsamoro political entity.

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The same EO expanded the current BTC membership from 15 (seven from the government and eight, including the chairperson, from the MILF) to 21 (10 government-appointed and 11, including the chairperson, from the MILF).

Increasing the number of BTC members, according to Dureza, strives to bring together all key peace actors and stakeholders in the implementation of all Bangsamoro accords.

“In our initial talks with the MILF in August 2016, we have agreed to raise the members from 15 to 21, so we can have more representatives, more inclusive memberships that represent other key sectors,” the peace adviser stressed.

Earlier, Dureza disclosed that the other rebel group, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) led by Muslimin Sema, was expected to join the BTC on top of other key sectors that include indigenous groups, sultanates, local government units, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

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But Dureza clarified that the 21-member BTC could not accommodate all sectors, although the newly formed panel is expected to convene and consult all groups within the proposed Bangsamoro areas.

EO 8 mandated the BTC to form an inclusive Bangsamoro assembly to serve as a consultative body to discuss the proposed enabling law with various stakeholders.

 

 

BTC timeline

Aside from assuring inclusivity, the bulk of the work of BTC focuses on writing a new proposed measure that will replace the old BBL.

Dureza reiterated that the timeline for the BTC to finish the draft is by July 2017, in time for the resumption of session of Congress and the President’s second State of the Nation Address.

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The last Congress had failed to enact the BBL bill into a law.

“The old BBL already underwent scrutiny but failed to be passed because of the Mamasapano incident, which put doubts on the level of trust in the talks. There are also issues about constitutionality but there are sectors affirming that it is constitutionally compliant. So, all of these will be noted,” Dureza explained in a mix of English and Filipino, referring to a bloody encounter in a Maguindanao town where more than 60 died in January 2015. (T/RS05/RS01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)