Gov’t TransCom members ‘known next week’—Deles

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 2 February)—President Benigno Aquino will name the government’s seven members to the Transition Commission (TransCom) next week from a shortlist of 15 nominees, Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quinto Deles said Friday.

Attending the Mindanao Development Forum here, Deles said in a press conference that the President will appoint the 15 members of the TransCom “in a few weeks time.”

She said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) had already submitted its list of TransCom nominees during the 35th formal exploratory talks between the government and the MILF held in Kuala Lumpur last month.

Deles declined to give a specific date as to when the government’s TransCom members would be named, saying that “it’s a matter of getting all of the clearances from different agencies.”

The TransCom was provided for in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed by the government and the MILF.  Its task is to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law to govern the new autonomous political entity called Bangsamoro that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao by 2016.

The TransCom will have eight members from the MILF, including the chair, and seven from the government.

Aquino issued last December 18 Executive Order 120 creating the TransCom, which Congress supported.

In the same press conference, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, government peace panel chair in talks with the MILF, said the creation of the TransCom through EO 120 showed that some parts of the FAB have already been implemented.

Ferrer gave updates on the FAB to the Mindanao Development Forum that gathered at least 300 government officials and representatives from the private sector and the diplomatic community at The Marco Polo Davao.

“At this stage we are moving forward to completing the annexes that we hope to do by March, during which time we can anticipate the signing of a comprehensive agreement,” she told reporters, stressing that the comprehensive agreement will include the FAB and the annexes.

Ferrer said the negotiations are down to about seven issues on the annexes on power sharing, wealth sharing and transitional arrangements and modalities.

“And we’re considering options trying to reconcile the two positions that have been articulated in the last round of talks held in Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago,” she said.

Ferrer cited that among the contentious issues on power sharing that shall be reconciled on the annexes include the allocation of powers related to jurisdiction over Mindanao resources, transportation and communication, and the water domain that shall constitute the Bangsamoro.

For wealth sharing, she identified the three contentious issues as the further taxes to be devolved to the Bangsamoro, the system of automatic appropriation of subsidies, and the sharing of revenues from mineral and energy resources in the Bangsamoro.

There are still key pending issues but otherwise, “large tracts of texts have already achieved consensus,” Ferrer said. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)

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