ARMM gov. welcomes appointment of 21-man expanded BTC, vows support

COTABATO CITY-- Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Saturday welcomed the appointment by President Rodrigo Duterte of the 21 members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

The BTC shall draft a new basic law for the proposed Bangsamoro region, which will then be enacted by Congress and ratified through a plebiscite by the residents of the envisioned core territory.

It is also in compliance with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, forged in 2014 by Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which came after 19 years of peace negotiations.

On Nov. 7 last year, President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 8 creating the commission but its members' appointments were only released recently.

"The regional government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao pledges to continue its unwavering support for the peace process and looks forward to working together with the Commission in laying down the foundations for genuine autonomy, coupled with building stronger social and political institutions in the region," Hataman said in a statement.

"The new and expanded Commission is expected, more than ever, to uphold inclusivity in the peace process, while providing opportunity to more people of various personal and political backgrounds across the Bangsamoro to participate in the efforts towards just and lasting peace in the region."

The regional governor, a peace advocate and supportive of MalacaAang's peace overture in southern Philippines, said he hopes the commission would live up to the expectations of the Bangsamoro people who have been longing for the elusive peace in their Muslim homeland.

"It is our fervent hope that the Commission would continue the good work that has led us to this point in our history, where our deepest hopes and aspirations as Bangsamoro people are closer than ever to becoming our reality," he said.

On Friday, Secretary Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, announced the names of the 21 new BTC members, a body that will draft the new Bangsamoro enabling law.

"This will signal the start of the work to come up with an inclusive Bangsamoro law that will truly reflect and address the clamor for a genuine political autonomy for the Bangsamoro people in Mindanao," said Dureza, who once served as government chief negotiator with the MILF.

The 10 nominees for the government are Atty. Jose Lorena, Atty. Maisara Dandamun-Latiph, Samira Gutoc, Datu Mussolini Lidasan, Dr. Susana Anayatin, Atty. Hussin Amin, Romeo Saliga, Hatimil Hassan, Atty. Firdausi Isma Abbas, and Atty. Omar Yasser Sema.

The 11 nominees from the MILF are Ghadzali Jaafar, Mohagher Iqbal, Abdulraof Abdul Macacua, Ibrahim Ali, Haron Abas, Atty. Raissa Jajurie, Said Shiek, Hussein Munoz, Melanio Ulama, Gafur Kunain, and Ammal Solaiman.

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.

Under EO No. 8, the consultative body will be chaired by the MILF with 11 members, while the government nominates 10 members, including three members from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) led by Muslimin Sema.

Dureza said the increase in the number of BTC members 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 membership that represents other key sectors," the peace adviser said.

The government has set a deadline for the BTC to submit the draft to Congress by July for deliberations and ratification.

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. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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