Government to name 3 MNLF reps to Bangsamoro Transition Commission

DAVAO CITY—Three representatives from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) are expected to be among the 10 government nominees in the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) the Duterte administration is reconstituting Monday, presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza said Saturday.

He said, however, MNLF founding chairperson Nur Misuari will not be present at Monday’s signing of the executive order reviving the commission that will be tasked to draft the new law that will create the new Bangsamoro entity.

“We got Misuari out because he is still a key player…Nur supports the peace process, (but) he doesn’t want to get involved in the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) or be subsumed under BTC. I didn’t even suggest that to him,” Dureza told journalists attending a workshop here.

The MILF formally broke away from the MNLF in 1984. Another faction of the MNLF is headed by Muslimin Sema who earlier said he was open to joining the BTC.

Misuari met with President Rodrigo Duterte at Malacanang Thursday after a Pasig court suspended his arrest warrant for the three-week attacks in Zamboanga City in 2013 to enable him to return to the peace negotiations. At least 200 people were killed and thousands displaced in the siege.

MILF chair Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim has been invited to the Palace on Monday during which Duterte is scheduled to sign the executive order expanding the BTC’s membership from 15 to 21.

Government will nominate 10 members, including three from the MNLF, while the MILF will name 11.

Duterte is scheduled to visit Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 9-10. Malaysia has been hosting the talks between the government and the MILF.

“You can’t put them (the MNLF) under the MILF umbrella…We will handle it separately,” Dureza said of the talks with the MNLF and the MILF.

He said he has asked Misuari to organize a five-member implementing panel that will engage the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

On the government’s urging, the MILF earlier formed a five-member implementing panel for the peace talks.

The MILF signed in 2012 the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) with the Aquino administration in 2014 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsmoro (CAB) in 2014. The BTC created in late 2012 drafted the proposed Basic Bangsamoro Law that failed to pass the 16th Congress.

The MNLF signed the Final Peace Agreement with the Ramos government in 1996, paving the way for the establishment of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Besides the three MNLF representatives, Dureza said the government nominees to the BTC will include one representative each from the ARMM, the sultanates, Christians in the Bangsamoro territory, indigenous people and the youth.

The CAB requires that members of the commission must be residents of the Bangsamoro territory.

Dureza said the expanded BTC reflects the “inclusivity” the government is adopting in the peace talks.

He said the government hopes that the new law that will replace the ARMM would draw from the various agreements with the MNLF and MILF as well as the Indigenous Peoples Rights’ Act (IPRA).

Para kalahok lahat (So that everyone participates),” he said.

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