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GPH, MILF panels begin work on passage of Bangsamoro law

by: September 1, 2016 7:55 am Category: Peace Process, Top Stories A+ / A-

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /31 August) – The chairs of the government (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) panels still sat across the table at the Lawin 1 room of the Waterfront Insular Hotel here on Monday and Tuesday but it was no longer GPH panel on one side and MILF panel on the other during their strategic planning on the implementation of the Bangsamoro peace roadmap, particularly on the passage of the enabling law.

Members of the peace implementing panels – five from the GPH and five from the MILF – and their consultants were spread to ensure a GPH member sits beside an MILF member.

“We’re not negotiating anymore. We’re planning together,” Irene Santiago, GPH panel chair told MindaNews.

PEACE UPDATES. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 gives a pep talk to the peace implementing panels of the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front during a break from their strategic planning on the Bangsamoro peace roadmap, MindaNews photo by Carolyn O. Arguillas

PEACE UPDATES. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 gives a pep talk to the peace implementing panels of the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front during a break from their strategic planning on the Bangsamoro peace roadmap, MindaNews photo by Carolyn O. Arguillas

She pointed to the seating arrangement. While she and MILF panel chair Mohagher Iqbal still sit across the table, “nobody is supposed to sit with the other members of the panel. Also, we asked technical people and the consultants to sit around,” she said during a break from the planning Tuesday afternoon.

Santiago said she was seated earlier between lawyer Raissa Jajurie, a consultant of the MILF panel and Jun Mantawil, head of the secretariat of the MILF panel.

“We’re developing, fleshing out the roadmap basically so that the enabling law will be passed as soon as possible,” she said.

The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed by the GPH and MILF peace panels on October 15, 2012 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) on March 27, 2014 provides for the creation of a Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) that would draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that would pave the way for the creation of a new autonomous political entity called the “Bangsamoro,” to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The 16th Congress under the Aquino administration failed to pass the BBL.

Santiago said they have opted to refer to the BBL as Bangsamoro enabling law to avoid confusion and to unload the baggage attached to the initials.

The two-day planning session focused only on the passage of the enabling law but there will be another session on the Normalization aspect in September, she said.

The two panels had agreed in Kuala Lumpur to increase the number of members of the BTC from 15 to 21, 11 from the MILF and 10 from the GPH.
President Duterte is expected to issue an Executive Order creating the BTC soon.

Iqbal said they started the planning on Monday morning with a briefing from the various mechanisms of the peace process, among them the Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities, Ad Hoc Joint Action Group, Joint Task Forces on Camps Transformation.

In the afternoon, the panels listened to constitutionalists Adolfo Azcuna, Christian Monsod and Antonio Lavina.

Azcuna is a retired Justice of the Supreme Court and a member of the 1971 Constitutional Convention that drafted the 1973 Constitution while Monsod is former chair of the Commission on Elections who was a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution. La Vina was a member of the GPH panel that negotiated with the MILF in the last months of the Arroyo administration, when the talks restarted in January 2010 after the signing of the 2008 Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain.

Iqbal said they will submit the names of 11 nominees to the BTC soon. “Most likely wala na ako. Mag concentrate na lang ako sa panel,” (I won’t be there. I will just concentrate on the panel), he said.

He said the strategic planning is good because “nakikita mo talaga ang proseso” (you will really see the process).

He stressed the need the BTC to be “off and running.”

The Bangsamoro peace roadmap is targeting July 2017 for the submission of the draft law.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, who dropped by during the lunch break on Tuesday said they are still working on the peace table with the Moro National Liberation Front but “we have two tables vibrant right now – the MILF .. and the CPP/NPA/NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front).

“From my understanding, this table will be able to come up with a fast-tracked result especially on crafting already the enabling law. Yan ang pinaka-critical sa atin eh kasi (That’s the most critical for us because) we learn from the past experience. A very unfortunate experience but I think we should learn from that. Yung mga hindi nagawa natin, pwede nating gawin (What was not done, we can do now) that can maybe ensure more traction in the work of the BTC,” Dureza said.

“We’d like to continue working together,” Dureza said, adding MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim “inspired” him when he met him in Darapanan on July 21 and in Kuala Lumpur on August 13.

Dureza and Murad sat across the negotiating table as peace panel chairs from 2001 to 2003.

He said the greeting of a member of the MILF panel a few minutes earlier, gave him added inspiration. Said Shiek, who used to be a member of the Local Monitoring Teams set up during those years when he and Murad were panel chairs, told him the atmosphere is better now because of the partnership and participation.

“Participative and partnership. I think if that is the theme that underlies all this work, I think we can do this as quickly as possible,” Dureza stressed.

Dureza also gave an update on what happened in Oslo, Norway, during the first round of formal peace talks with the NDF.

“Congratulations for a job well done,” said Iqbal.

“Actually,” Dureza said, “parang MILF din eh. They’re (NDF) also open eh. We never thought they will even allow an indefinite ceasefire.”

He narrated how he told the NDF “yung mechanisms (ng ceasefire), kopyahin na lang natin yung sa MILF dahil tested on the ground na yun (the ceasefire mechanisms, let’s just copy from the ceasefire with the MILF because that’s already tested on the ground). The template is already there.’

“They’re also buoyed up with that. Kasi nauna tayo eh. Nauna tayo. (Because we’re ahead. We’re ahead). A lot of lessons learned,” Dureza added.

“Dapat una tayo matapos” (We should finish first), Santiago said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

GPH, MILF panels begin work on passage of Bangsamoro law Reviewed by on . DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /31 August) – The chairs of the government (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) panels still sat across the table at the Lawin 1 DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /31 August) – The chairs of the government (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) panels still sat across the table at the Lawin 1 Rating: 0