By MB Online and Elena Aben
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed on Monday, November 7 the executive order (EO) establishing an expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).
The expanded, more inclusive commission will be tasked to draft an enabling law that will serve as the legal foundation of the future Bangsamoro government in Mindanao.
In his speech after the signing at the Rizal Hall, President Duterte reiterated his commitment to the Bangsamoro peace process.
“I pray to Allah that it will succeed in my term. Sabi ko nga maski iyan na lang ang magawa ko para sa bayan, okay na ako (As I already told, even if that is all that I could do for the country, I am okay with it), then I can retire in peace,” he said.
Among the primary witnesses to the signing were presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, government implementing panel chair Irene Santiago and her MILF counterpart Mohagher Iqbal.
Also in Malacañang for the signing were cabinet and MILF central committee members.
Under the EO, the BTC will be expanded to 21 members from 15. Eleven members, including the BTC chair, will come from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and 10 will be nominated by the government.
The government nominees will be “a diverse group selected on the basis of their proven capacity to listen to many voices.”
Duterte has also directed that since there is only one Bangsamoro, the provisions not yet implemented in the 1996 agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the MILF be consolidated into one enabling law.
Thus, the government has agreed to include among its nominees three members from the MNLF. Its founding chairman, Nur Misuari, had earlier said he would skip the ceremonies.
The draft law to be crafted by the BTC is expected to submitted to Congress by mid-2017.
Dureza, said the “the signing of the EO marked another milestone in yet another effort to address what the president had always referred to as ‘to redress a historical injustice on the Bangsamoro.’”
“This is a very significant occasion because it will signal a restart of what had slowed down because of the failure of our previous congress to enact the enabling law,” he added.
Iqbal, for his part, urged Congress to fast-track the Bangsamoro process so as to avoid the fate of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which only reached the second reading.
Tags: Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Duterte signs EO on Bangsamoro transition commission, executive order, Irene Santiago, Manila Bulletin, MILF, Mohagher Iqbal, Rodrigo Duterte