Duterte signs EO for new Bangsamoro Transition Commission

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(File photo) President Rodrigo Duterte signs an executive order expanding a committee tasked with drafting a law creating the Bangsamoro region in Mindanao

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Monday a new executive order expanding the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, as he vowed to fast-track the peace process in Mindanao.

The executive order expands the number of members of the commission to 21 from 15, to give more for representation in the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

"My only desire is that peace in Mindanao would finally come," President Duterte said in remarks before the executive order was signed.

Duterte, who called himself "a creature of Mindanao," promised his support for the commission and the enabling law that would be drafted.

"I will see to it, I'll talk to the Speaker (of the House Pantaleon Alvarez) and to the Senate President (Koko Pimentel) and leaders to fast-track it because I want it," the President said.

In a ceremony at Malacañang Palace , Duterte signed the executive order. which was witnessed by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Al Haj Ebrahim Murad and the group's Implementing Panel chair Mohagher Iqbal, Government of the Philippines Implementing Panel chair Irene M. Santiago, Alvarez, and Pimentel.

 

MNLF members to be included in Bangsamoro Transition Commission

The executive order expands the number of the committee members to 21 from 15, said a statement from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

Among these 21 members, 11 – including the transition commission chairman – will be from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The remaining 10 members will be nominated by the government. Three of the 10 will be from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), headed by Moro revolutionary leader Nur Misuari.

Read: Misuari vows support for Duterte's peace efforts, anti-drug war

Duterte directed that the provisions not yet implemented in the 1996 agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement with the Bangsamoro with the MILF be consolidated into one enabling law.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is a breakaway faction of the Moro National Liberation Front.

Dureza said that the government will coordinate with a five-person panel to be formed by Misuari.

The suspension of hearings and arrest warrants against Misuari last Friday was so that Misuari could participate in the peace process.

Read: Misuari meets Duterte after court suspends trial, arrest order

Misuari is being held responsible for the 20-day Zamboanga siege in 2013 that left 200 soldiers, rebels, and civilians dead, and tens of thousands displaced from their homes.

Peace is the primary goal

Iqbal said the new executive order "would give renewed hope for the early passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law."

"When that happens, we would be witnessing the solution of more than four decades of conflicts in Mindanao," Iqbal said in remarks before the signing.

Iqbal implored Filipinos to set aside differences and instead focus on the "collective interest of the Bangsamoro who just demand the restoration of their identity, correction of the historical injustice committed against them, and the resolution of their legitimate grievances."

 

Ebrahim, chairman of the MILF, said he was happy to witness "the triumph of our collective desire to continue to pursue the path of peace."

Santiago stressed the importance of people's participation in the peace process.

The formation of "People's Peace Tables" all over the country is part of the executive order, she said.

"Peace is everyone's concern so we must have a venue like the peace tables where people's voices can be heard and taken seriously," Santiago said in the statement released by the presidential peace adviser's office.

"Peacebuilding is more than passing a law, as important as that is. It is also about feelings of being included and respected and about building relationships," she added.