'Transition commission' to craft law on Bangsamoro-A A +A
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III is set to issue an executive order to create a transition commission that will craft a new law on the proposed Bangsamoro region after the framework agreement is signed, the government peace panel chair said Monday.
Facing the media for the first time following a successful forging of a framework agreement in Malaysia, government peace panel chair Marvic Leonen said the transition commission will be composed of all Bangsamoro, who will craft the Bangsomoro basic law that will govern rules on the new semi-autonomous region.
"This will be a group of citizens that will craft a proposed basic law, the Bangsamoro basic law, which will then be submitted to Congress thereafter approved by the President and the commitment is to submit it back to the people affected to ratify the law as well as their inclusion into what the area now being called as Bangsamoro," Leonen said.
The transition commission will be composed of 15 members, seven of which will be chosen by the government while eight will be selected by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Leonen said the MILF has requested that the enactment of the new law will take place within the administration of President Aquino.
The framework agreement is expected to be signed on October 15.
Leonen said the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) will continue to govern the region until a new law is passed and ratified. The next Armm officials will be elected in next year's polls.
Leonen said the government is pushing for an "inclusive and democratic" approach in creating the Bangsomoro region.
"It is inclusive, it is people-driven, and it will undertake a lot of consultations with the people that will be included in the region that is called the Bangsamoro," he said.
Leonen said the Aquino government tried to remove all the confusion on how the new Bangsamoro region will be called.
"Before they called it Bangsamoro state. Now, it is purely Bangsamoro. There is an effort to remove all other confusion," he said.
He said all the areas under the Armm will be asked once again through a plebiscite if they want to be part of the Bangsamoro.
He explained that the Bangsamoro does not create a new citizenship and the people in the region are all Filipino citizens.
Asked if the government is open to constitutional amendments to implement the framework agreement, Leonen said, "There is a provision there which says that part of the powers of the transition commission would be to work on proposals for amendment of the Constitution. But there is no commitment there that such proposals are going to be acted upon by Congress."
"Like every citizen, Article 17 is open -- of the Constitution – any citizen can make proposals to amend the Constitution. Any group of citizens, in fact, may cause a petition for initiative in order to amend the Constitution. Any group of citizens could lobby Congress in order to pursue a constitutional amendment," he added.
He said the transition commission may tackle amendment but is up to Congress to so amend the Constitution.
But as far as the government peace panel is concerned, he said he sees no necessity for now to amend the Constitution.
"We think that the commitments made there by the government are indeed within the parameters of the Constitution or, should I say, within the flexibilities of the existing Constitution," he said.
Leonen also said that no foreign government put pressure on both Philippine government and MILF to forge a framework agreement.
"This agreement was made possible because the MILF trust the President's 'daang matuwid,'" he said.
Leonen said part of the framework agreement is the gradual decommissioning of the MILF troops.
He said it is possible that the members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces can be tapped to be part of the police force.
"There is only one Armed Forces of the Philippines. The system of the police forces will still have to be discussed and will form part of the annexes," he said.
He noted that the technical working group is already working on the decommissioning process.
He added that both parties agreed on the reduction and control of proliferation of firearms in the region.
The Aquino government described the framework agreement as a roadmap to end decade-long insurgency in Mindanao.
Leonen said the government is giving the Bangsamoro a chance and hope that both parties will act in good faith.
The framework agreement gained support from the governments of United States, Switzerland and Australia.
"The United States welcomes the announcement of the framework agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.
"This agreement is a testament to the commitment of all sides for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the southern Philippines," she added.
Clinton said the next step after the signing of the framework agreement next week would be to ensure that it will be fully implemented.
"We encourage all parties to work together to build peace, prosperity and greater opportunities for all the people of the Philippines," she said.
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the announcement made by Aquino raises hope that the decades-old conflict in the region will soon draw to a close.
The Swiss government also welcomed the framework agreement, recognizing the role played by the Malaysian government as a facilitator.
The MILF has been pursuing a separatist insurgency in the southern Philippines since 1984, but Aquino said that with the creation of the new Bangsamoro region after the signing of the framework agreement, the MILF would no longer want a separate state. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)