Deles cites critical role of BTC in drafting inclusive Bangsamoro law PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 10 February 2014 11:26

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles cites the important and historic role of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in drafting a Bangsamoro Basic Law that is fair, acceptable, and inclusive for congressional approval.

“You are both mentor and student; mentor to our legislators in understanding the spirit of compromise and understanding that brought about the Framework Agreement, its Annexes and addendum. You are student to the myriad voices, all with their own grievances and aspirations, whose dream of a Bangsamoro that works, is just as real and as urgent as yours,” Deles reminded the 15 BTC members at the inauguration of their office in Cotabato City.

The presidential peace adviser graced the opening of the BTC office with DILG Secretary Mar Roxas. They were welcomed by BTC chairman and head of the MILF negotiating panel Mohagher Iqbal, who presided over the first official meeting of the BTC at their new office.

Deles reminded the BTC that the Bangsamoro Basic Law’s approval is critically important to the successful conclusion of the peace negotiations and implementation of the agreements forged by the GPH and MILF panels. The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) fully supports the work of the BTC, she added.

“The Bangsamoro Basic Law must not be an island in our statutes, but a document that blends with our Constitutional framework to guarantee the freedom, security and prosperity of Filipinos. Your work in drafting this law as basis for congressional deliberations and approval will endure long after the law has been enacted,” the peace adviser said.

Deles assured that the entire government is right behind the BTC’s efforts in the crafting and the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

She also called on peace advocates and supporters of the Mindanao peace agreement to carry on with their advocacy and not be disheartened by the handiwork of “spoilers”.

“There will always be spoilers, doomsayers, and know-it-alls. Our hope is that they will learn to trust the process as it shifts from negotiations to partnerships, cemented by law, and celebrated by our people,” Deles said.

She said that the new office of the BTC will enable the body to accelerate its work in crafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law, as instructed by President Aquino. The President, in a recent meeting with BTC officials in Malacanang,  pledged his full support to the enactment of the new organic law that would pave the way for the abolition of the ARMM and creation of a Bangsamoro regional government in areas that would ratify the law in a plebiscite. He, however, asked the BTC to speed up its work in order to give both Houses of Congress more time to study the measure.

“You will have to formulate provisions that would guarantee a true Bangsamoro future where children can have happier childhoods, their parents longer and more productive lives, and where communities are grounded with abundance, rather than uprooted in fear,” the Secretary told the BTC.

The BTC led by Chairman Iqbal is composed of fifteen (15) commissioners, all appointed by President Aquino, with 8 members coming from the MILF and 7 members designated by the government. It is mandated to hold consultations with various sectors and stakeholders in Mindanao to ensure an inclusive, fair and transparent Bangsamoro Basic Law.

“This roadmap has built-in safeguards to ensure that this journey to peace in Mindanao shall not be short lived. It is the gift of our generation to those that will follow us, a legacy of a united, progressive and peaceful Mindanao,” Deles said.