DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will be signing the executive order on Monday, Nov. 7 reconstituting the Bangsamoro Transition Commission tasked to draft the enabling law that will result to a Bangsamoro government if approved by Congress.

The draft of a new enabling law will replace the failed Bangsamoro Basic Law. submitted to Congress.

Irene Santiago, chair of the Government Implementing Panel for the Bangsamoro Peace Accords, said the independent BTC is also tasked to draft amendments to the Constitution “if any”.

The BTC formally has 15 members, eight from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and seven from the government.

But during the first meeting of the implementing panels in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August, the panels agreed to increase the number to 21 members, with 11 to be nominated by the MILF and 10 by the government.

People who listen

Santiago did not name the 10 nominees of the government, but described them as “a diverse group of people who have the capacity to listen.”

“They are men and women who are eminent, who have the stature, and who have a track record and capacity of listening to many voices,” she said.

She said they also agreed that the Moro National Liberation Front will be part of the government nominees with three seats.

Santiago, however, said she does not know whether MNLF founder Nur Misuari will have a seat in the BTC.

But Santiago said Misuari’s declaration of support to the peace process “is a very good sign”.

“Now we will see what kind of process is possible so that we can continue the conversations,” she said.

The revolutionary leader, Misuari, went into hiding for several years after the Zamboanga siege. He flew Thursday afternoon to Manila upon the invitation of President Rodrigo Duterte, who he described as a man he “respect and trust”, after a Pasig City regional trial court suspended his standing warrant of arrest.

More inclusive

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza described the reconstituted BTC as “more inclusive and more transparent”.

The BTC was first convened in 2014 through Executive Order No. 120 which gives the body the mandate to draft the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law with provisions consistent with the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

Santiago added the BTC will also see to it that in writing the new enabling law, all of those concerns of the previous Bangsamoro peace agreements will be included.

“What is it that the government and the MNLF agreed on in 1996 and what are the things needed in the new law, we will have only one law,” she said.

But Santiago said while optimism is very high with the peace process moving forward, “peace is not a straight road”.

“But we take advantage of the opportunities in front of us,” she said.

Duterte will sign the EO in Malacanan Palace on Monday afternoon. (davaotoday.com)

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