Community-immersed TransCom members to draft Bangsamoro law PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 02 March 2013 10:58

Central Mindanao’s cross-section communities found so surprising for President Benigno Aquino III and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to agree on a composition of “not so popular” representatives to the Transition Commission (TransCom) to oversee the creation of the Bangsamoro autonomous political entity.
The new political entity, once established through the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and approved via a democratic process, will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
President Aquino appointed last week the members of the 15-man TransCom.
The appointees include Akmad A. Sakkam, Johaira C. Wahab, Talib A. Benito, Asani S. Tammang, Pedrito A. Eisma, Froilyn T. Mendoza Fatmawati T. Salapuddin, on the government side.

The MILF is to be represented in the TransCom by Robert M. Alonto, Abdulla U. Camlian, Ibrahim D. Ali, Raissa H. Jajurie, Melanio U. Ulama, Hussein P. Munoz and Said M. Shiek, with the equally simple Mohagher Iqbal, as its chairman.

Mendoza, of the GPH, and the MILF’s Ulama both belong to Mindanao’s non-Moro indigenous people, or IP, whose communities were already present in many part of Mindanao even before the coming over hundreds of years ago of foreign Islamic missionaries Sheik Karimul Makdum and Shariff Mohammad Kabunsuan to preach Islam.

Mendoza was recommended to the TransCom by various IP and women’s organizations, by Oblate missionary Eliseo Mercado, Jr. of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance, and ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman.

Aveen Acuna-Gulo, manager of the Indigenous People’s Development Project (IPDev), said Mendoza  is an advocacy specialist in their non-government organization.

“We see this as a big step to ensure IP representation necessary to ensure the community’s protection in the peace process,” Gulo said, referring to Mendoza, who is of ethnic Teduray descent.

Even members of the media community who know well some of the 15 members of TransCom found it fascinating to see them in the group, created with joint imprimatur from the government and the MILF.

“These are very simple people who do not do grandstanding in gatherings, or events where the cause of Mindanao’s IP and Moro communities are tackled,” said Ali Macabalang of Manila Bulletin, former director of the ARMM’s media relations bureau.

Iqbal is known among media practitioners as a straightforward person, whose insights on the Mindanao peace process are premised on the historical facts about Moro nationhood, the political and geographical evolutions of the Moro people over time, and the realities the Southern Mindanao sectors are now in.

Many had previously anticipated the inclusion of eloquent speakers, or those with “big names” both from the government and the MILF to the TransCom.

Public school officials in Maguindanao were quick to conclude that the MILF and President Aquino could have learned from past experiences where “great speakers, or personalities with big names,” mostly failed in past peace processes owing to their lack of attachment with Moro and non-Moro communities on the ground.

“They were brilliant, but did not have the real feeling of how it was to be a poor Moro on the ground,” commented an official of the ARMM’s education department, who asked not to be identified.

“The Commission drew its membership from various ethnic, professional and political backgrounds from within the Bangsamoro, and is further imbued with gender and generational balance. This manifests the commitment of the Aquino administration to uphold the peace process,” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles said in a statement.

The TransCom will draft the BBL that will be certified urgent by the President and submitted to Congress for passage. It will undergo a plebiscite in the proposed Bangsamoro core territory as an objective of  Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), according to Deles.

“The appointment of these individuals who represent vital Bangsamoro constituencies and have proven their commitment to pursuing amity and goodwill in Muslim Mindanao is a key step to the roadmap to the creation of the Bangsamoro political entity” Deles added.