2 to 3 seats to MNLF’s Mus Sema faction in the BTC

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Sep) – The government (GPH) peace implementing panel will give two to three seats to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) under the Muslimin Sema faction in the Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC) as among the 10 members to be appointed by the government.

But the challenge that GPH peace implementing panel chair Irene Santiago sees now is how to bring in the group of MNLF chair and founder Nur Misuari, who perceives the “BTC as MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) structure.”

During the Davao Peace Fair 2016 at the SM Ecoland on Wednesday, Santiago said it was President Rodrigo R. Duterte who wants a convergence between the MILF and the MNLF that he said should not be dealt separately in laying the groundwork for peace as they are the same Moro people.

She said that the GPH is looking for “creative ways on how to do the convergence” to ensure that there would be inclusivity in the peace process among all groups in Mindanao.

Santiago said they are working on an executive order creating the BTC, an independent body whose task will be to consolidate all peace agreements and legislation into one enabling law on the Bangsamoro, call for an inclusive Bangsamoro Consultative Assembly to discuss the new draft of the enabling law, and submit to Congress the new version of the enabling law not later than July 27.

“We’re not having sectoral groups (in the BTC). There will be no representatives because it is difficult to get sectoral representatives but we will get a diverse group of representatives,” she said.

On the crafting of the enabling law, Santiago said they the new BTC will certainly look at the old BBL “but it’s a new BTC and so we cannot predict what it is going to do but certainly those are available to the BTC. It’s up to them to decide; it’s an independent commission.”

Patmei Ruivivar, communications director of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, told Kapehan sa Dabaw Monday that the government panel will convene here on September 27-28 to discuss, among others, the criteria on the selection of BTC members that will be nominated by the GPH panel.

In their August 13 meeting held in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, both panels agreed to increase the BTC membership from 7 to 10 for the government and from 8 to 11 for the MILF to ensure inclusivity in the peace process.

The August 13 meeting was held to start the crafting of an enabling law for the CAB, as the previous Congress failed to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Ruivivar said the GPH panel is expected to have a complete list of its appointees after finalizing the criteria that will be submitted to Duterte for signing.

Beyond ceasefire

Santiago said that the armed struggle in the Mindanao area must be addressed not only at the level of forging a ceasefire agreement but also at the level of addressing the cultural and structural roots of the problem, otherwise the conflicts will only repeat.

She said it is necessary to put in place security, development, fair access to decision-making, and acceptance of the identity of the Moro people.

She said that the new GPH panel will not do what did not work in the previous administration while assuring that the peace process this time will be inclusive, integrated, and imaginative. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)