DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 05 November) – The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction of founding chair Nur Misuari will not be part of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-led Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) but will have a separate five-member peace implementing panel that will deal with government, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza told reporters Saturday.
Addressing a training-workshop on Reporting the Peace Process, Dureza said the MNLF under Muslimin Sema will have three seats out of the 10 government nominees in the 21-member BTC that will draft the law that would pave the way for the creation the Bangsamoro, a new autonomous political entity that would replace the now 26-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Duterte will sign the Executive Order creating the BTC on Monday, November 7 in Malacanang, in the presence of MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and members of the peace implementing panels of the government (GPH) and the MILF.
On November 3, Duterte received Misuari in Malacanang after a court ordered the suspension, of the case proceedings and enforcement of the warrants of arrest against him to allow the 77-year old Moro leader to “attend peace talk sessions with the government.”
The suspension is for a period of six months from October 27, “unless sooner lifted by the court.”
Dureza said he asked Misuari to “also organize a five-person panel” that government will engage with because “hindi mo naman puwede silang isama dito sa MILF na umbrella kasi may sarili rin siyang panindigan.”
The MILF has a five-member peace implementing panel led by Mohagher Iqbal. The government’s peace implementing panel, which is dealing with both the MILF and MNLF, is headed by Irene Santiago.
Under the Bangsamoro peace roadmap of the Duterte administration, the BTC’s membership was increased from 15 to 21 to make it “more inclusive.” The MNLF factions were expected to be included in the new BTC to make for only one track – the Bangsamoro track – instead of the pre-Duterte days of GPH-MNLF and GPH-MILF tracks.
But while the MNLF under Sema has agreed to take part in the BTC, Misuari’s faction has not.
“I know whereof he speaks .. because he doesn’t want to get involved with the MILF at all,” Dureza said adding Misuari “doesn’t want to be subsumed in the BTC and I did not even suggest that at all to him because the BTC is a mechanism out of the MILF peace agreement.”
Misuari’s panel will deal with the government’s panel to work on the completion of the completion of the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement (FPA) signed by the two parties on September 2, 1996.
Peace negotiations with the two Bangsamoro fronts are over but implementation of the peace agreements is not.
Duterte inherited two peace agreements from previous administrations: under Fidel Ramos, the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA) with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) that started with the 1976 Tripoli Agreement under Marcos, and under Benigno Simeon Aquino III, the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) with the MILF that followed the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).
According to the Tripartite Review done by the government, MNLF and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) from 2007 to 2015, the government and MNLF under the Arroyo and Aquino administrations had agreed on 42 consensus points on provisions of RA 9054 that they want amended to “enhance” the ARMM.
RA 9054, which amended RA 6734 or the Organic Act creating the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), was supposed to have entrenched the 1996 FPA. The MNLF had boycotted the plebiscite to ratify RA 9054, claiming it did not adhere to the FPA and that it rendered the supposed expanded ARMM less autonomous than the ARMM before the peace agreement.
The review also tackled the three unresolved issues on Area; Definition and Sharing Revenues of Strategic Minerals; and Transitional Mechanism, the MNLF demanding to resolve the establishment of a provisional government in accordance wit the 1976 Tripoli Agreement, the government saying this has been superseded by the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development and the Consultative Assembly set up under the FPA.
“There are now 42 consensus points they have identified that should be introduced into RA 9054 to enhance the ARMM law. So we are going to engage them so that we can also also consider now the MNLF Tripartite Review outputs then if we have the BTC already organized and they have also crafted now a new BBL, all these now would … be submitted to Congress.”
Dureza said it is Congress that will “approve the implementing mechanism or create a new law” which he said can be an amendment to RA 9054 or it can be a new enabling law for the Bangsamoro, whatever it is for lack of a better name right now.”
He said the Bangsamoro peace roadmap “will end up to having one convergent enabling enacted law if Congress will pass it.”
Hours after Misuari’s visit to Malacanang on November 3, Dureza told MindaNews in a text message that the GPH-MILF and GPH-MNLF tracks “will somehow converge in Congress without converging in the process.”
He said the GPH-MILF track will pursue the BTC mode of drafting the proposed Bangsamoro law for submission to Congress while the GPH-MNLF-Misuari track will work for the “amendment/expansion/enhancement” of RA 9054.
Congress will then consolidate the bills to come up with the final draft of the Bangsamoro law.
As these two tracks are moving, however, Congress will also convene as a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution to push for the shift to a federal form of government. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)