TransCom members named; MILF peace panel chair Iqbal is TransCom chair

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/25 February) – Malacanng announced Monday noon the appointment of 15 members of the Transition Commission of the Philippine government (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the body that would prepare the groundwork for  the setting up of the new autonomous political entity called “Bangsamoro” by June 30, 2016.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda announced the names – eight from the MILF and seven from the GPH — . in a press conference in Malacanang.

He said the TransCom will be chaired by Mohagher Iqbal, the MILF peace panel chair.

Iqbal will now be holding three concurrent positions: as information chief and peace panel chair of the MILF and as chair of the GPH-MILF TransCom.

Named members of the TransCom for the government are:  Akmad A. Sakkam,  Johaira C. Wahab,. Talib A. Benito, Asani S. Tammang, Pedrito A. Eisma. Froilyn T. Mendoza and Fatmawati T. Salapuddin.

The MILF on the other hand selected eight members: Iqbal, Maulana Alonto,  Abdullah Camlian, Ibrahim D. Ali,  Raissa H. Jajurie,  Melanio U. Ulama,  Hussein P. Munoz and Said M. Shiek.

According to Lacierda, the seven appointees of the GPH panel “underwent thorough screening and evaluation” by a TransCom Selection Body composed of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles, and Mehol Sadain,  Secretary of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).

Lacierda said the GPH Selection Body agreed that appointees be “a Bangsamoro, a track record in support of the peace process, and established probity, untainted by any charge or suspicion of corruption or abuse of power, among others.”

Women and IPs

The eight names selected by the MILF are all members of the MILF peace panel. Iqbal is MILF peace panel chair. Alonto and Camlian are members of the MILF peace panel; Jajurie, Ulama and Sheik are members of the MILF  peace panel’s Technical Working Groups while Munoz, more popularly known by his commander’s name, Sonny Davao;  and Ali, an aleem, are consultants.

Jajurie is a lawyer while Sheik is head of the MILF’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities.

Iqbal acknowledged that individually, taking on the task on a concurrent capacity is “mahirap pero mas mahirapan kami kung maghanap pa ng bago” (difficult but it will be more difficult if we look for new ones).

He told MindaNews in a telephone interview that “organizationally, mas madali (it will be easier) because of  trust and confidence.

On the GPH side, only one from the GPH peace panel was named to the TransCom: lawyer Wahab, chief of the legal panel.

Wahab, who hails from Maguindanao, and who topped the Foreign Service Officer examination given out by the Department of Foreign Affairs last year, is the youngest member of TransCom. She is turning 28 on March 25.

Iqbal, the TransCom chair, is turning 65 this year.

The other GPH members to the TransCom are lawyer and former ambassador Sakkam from Indanan, Sulu Prof. Benito, Dean of the King Faisal Center for Islamic, Arabic and Asian Studies at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City; lawyer Tammang, a former congressman from Panamao, Sulu;  former Isabela City councilor Eisma of  Basilan;  Mendoza, aTeduray who co-founded the Téduray Lambangian Women’s Organization, Inc. (TLWOI) while Salapuddin was director of the Sulu-based Lupah Sug Bangsamoro Women’s Association and is at present the Director of the Bureau of Peace & Conflict Resolution of the NCMF.

Of the 15 members, four are women (Wahab, Mendoza and Salapuddin from the GPH and Jajurie from the MILF) while two are from the Lumads (Indigenous peoples): Mendoza from the  GPH and Ulama from the Organization of Teduray and Lambiangan Conference, from the MILF.

Tausugs dominate the TransCom membership: Sakkam, Tammang, Salapuddin and Jajurie, Camlian describes himself as “Tausug/Sama/Banguingi from Zamboanga City and Basilan.”

The Maranaos have three members in the TransCom: Benito, Alonto and Shiek; the Kagans have  Munoz and for the Iranuns, Ali.

The MILF base is in Maguindanao but there are only two Maguindanaons in the TransCom:  Iqbal and Wahab.

The  indigenous peoples are represented by Tedurays Mendoza and Ulama.

Eisma, according to ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, is a “Christian representative to the TransCom.” A source from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said Eisma “has lived in Basilan for a very long time and will be qualified to vote on the plebiscite.”

EO 120

The appointment of the members came two months and eight days after President Aquino signed on December 17 Executive Order 120 creating the  TransCom and four months and 10 days after the signing of the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).

EO 120 provides an initial funding of P100 million for the TransCom from the contingency fund of the Office of the President. Budget for the succeeding years shall be incorporated in budget proposal under the Office of the President.

The roadmap to the creation of the Bangsamoro, prepared and published by the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office,  lists 15 steps from the signing of the FAB on October 15.

The second step is supposed to be the adoption of the Annexes followed by the issuance of the EO creating the TransCom, Congressional resolutions supporting the EO and the fifth step which is the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.  

The GPH and MILF peace panels resumed their negotiations on the four annexes on Power-sharing, Wealth-sharing, Normalization and Transitional Arrangements and Modalities, to complete their comprehensive peace pact.

The House of Representatives and the Senate passed resolutions supporting the EO and the FAB before they went on Christmas break.

Tasks

The EO provides the following tasks of the TransCom, in accordance with the FAB: “draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law with provisions consistent with the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro; whenever necessary, to recommend to Congress or the people, proposed amendments  to the 1987 Philippine Constitution; and whenever necessary, to assist in identifying and coordinating development programs in the proposed Bangsamoro in conjunction with the MILF Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) and the  Bagnsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI)” and for this purpose, “may likewise coordinate with such other relevant government agencies and/or non-government organizations.”

It also adds these tasks: “coordinate and conduct dialogues and consultations with the National Government and various stakeholders in furtherance of its functions; and perform such other relevant functions as the President may hereinafter direct.”

The TransCom, according to the FAB, will be independent from the ARMM (which will hold its last elections in May 2013) and other government agencies” but all agencies of government are mandated to “support the Transition  Commission in the performance of its tasks and responsibilities” until it ceases to exist “upon the enactment by Congress of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

The EO provides that the TransCom “may directly coordinate with legislative bodies in order to accomplish its functions” and shall organize its Secretariat headed by an Executive Director as may be designated by the chair. It can also create technical committees and engage the assistance of experts and professional advisors.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2013/02/25/transcom-members-named-milf-peace-panel-chair-iqbal-is-transcom-chair/


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