2 months after signing EO, Duterte finally appoints BTC members

DAVAO  CITY (MindaNews /12 January) –  Two months and two days after he issued an executive order expanding the membership and functions of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), President Rodrigo Duterte finally signed Monday night the appointment papers of the 21-member body that would draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza told MindaNews that the appointment papers will be released shortly.

The BTC has to hit the ground running as soon as the appointment papers are released and the members take their oath because according to the Duterte administration’s Bangsamoro Peace and Development Roadmap, the expanded BTC is supposed to submit the draft enabling law by July 2017, before the President delivers his second State of the Nation Address on July 24.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signs the Executive Order reconstituting the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in Malacañan on November 7. Also in the photo are Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Implementing Panel chair Mohagher Iqbal, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, and Government of the Philippines (GPH) Peace Implementing Panel chair Irene Santiago. KING RODRIGUEZ/Presidential Photo

Led by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in accordance with the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the BTC will have 11 members nominated by the MILF and 10 members nominated by the government.

Three of the government nominees will be coming from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction under Muslimin Sema. Dureza had earlier said the MNLF under founding chair Nur Misuari will have a separate peace implementing panel.

The MNLF-Misuari peace implementing panel headed by Randolph Parcasio and the government panel chaired by  Nabil Tan are also supposed to submit to Congress by July this year its proposed law amending RA 9054, the law governing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The BTC is drafting a law that will pave the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro, a new autonomous political entity that the government and the MILF had agreed upon in the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), to replace the ARMM.

The MNLF-Misuari panel on the other hand is working to amend RA 9054 to enhance the ARMM, in accordance with the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA).

Dureza told MindaNews on Nov. 3 that the GPH-MILF and GPH-MNLF (Misuari) peace tracks “will somehow converge in Congress without converging in the process.”

Parcasio said letting Congress do the “convergence” of the draft laws that the MNLF and MILF would craft, “would be a disaster.”

He said there must be “one common proposal of the MNLF and MILF” but how that can be done, “yan dapat natin pag-isipan” (that we should think about).

“Let us pray to Allah that the MNLF and MILF will come up with a common proposal,” he said.

The MNLF-Nur panel has yet to meet with the government’s peace implementing panel.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)