Bangsamoro Transition Commission holds first session in Cotabato City

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/30 April) – The 15-member Transition Commission (TransCom) tasked to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law held its first session in Mindanao Tuesday with experts on Constitution-making as resource persons.

“Very engaged” was how TransCom chair Mohager Iqbal,  concurrent chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel, described the day’s session with Prof. Yash Ghai, chair of the Fiji Constitution Commission.

Commissioner Fatmawati Salapuddin of Sulu said Ghai gave inputs “to guide our formulation of internal rules and processes, experiences of other countries.

The sessions were held behind closed doors on the fourth floor of Alnor Suites.

It was the TransCom’s first meeting in Cotabato City, where it will be based, after the April 3 ceremonial opening in Pasig City.

The other resource persons in the April 30 session were lawyers Benedicto Bacani, Executive Director of the Cotabato City-based Institute for Autonomy and Governance, and Nasser Marohomsalic, a former commissioner at the Commission on Human Rights and a member of the 1988 Regional Consultative Commission that drafted the Organic Act for what is now the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Composed of eight members from the MILF and seven from the Philippine government (GPH), the TransCom, as agreed upon in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, is tasked to draft the Basic Law that would pave the way for the establishment of the Bangsamoro, the new autonomous political entity that would replace the ARMM by June 30, 2016.

Iqbal told MindaNews they hope to finish the Commission’s internal rules by Wednesday, May 1.

Iqbal now wears four hats in the MILF: as information chief, peace panel chair, TransCom chair and head of the Consultative Commission of the Facility for Advisory Support for Transition Capacities (FASTRAC),  a three-year program initiated by the United Nations and the World Bank in partnership with the MILF, which was launched last Monday at Camp Darapanan.

FASTRAC will provide on-demand technical assistance from national and international experts and will start office “next week,” UN resident coordinator Luiza Carvalho said at the press conference after the launch.

The  Consultative Committee will provide overall guidance to the Cotabato City-based FASTRAC. Day to day management, however, will be under an Executive Director. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)