Duterte to inaugurate Bangsamoro pact relaunch

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is set to inaugurate the formal launching of the renewed effort to implement the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) in Davao City on Friday.

Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Jesus Dureza said that during Duterte's meeting with select Cabinet members last Monday, he reiterated his strong commitment to pursue "just, lasting, and inclusive peace in the land."

"He will preside over the big event (CAB launch) on Friday in Davao City," Dureza said.

"He also stressed the need for convergence and the coming together of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLG) and other different factions of the Bangsamoro in a single roadmap for peace," he added.

The Aquino administration and the MILF signed the CAB and its annexes in March 2014. However, the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law was stalled in the last Congress.

In November last year, Duterte signed an executive order reconstituting the 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Committee that will craft an enabling law for the Bangsamoro.

Duterte on February 2 released the names of all BTC members. The commission consists of 11 members from the MILF, seven from the government, and three from the MNLF.

The BTC is expected to submit the draft law to Congress by July for deliberation and ratification.

Dureza said the President is looking forward to a successful crafting of Moro law.

Peace talks with Reds

Meanwhile, Duterte met with leftist Cabinet members namely Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Liza Maza, and Agriculture Secretary Rafael Mariano at the Palace last Monday to also discuss the terminated peace talks with the communists.

They were joined by government peace negotiators, Dureza and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

Dureza said the Chief Executive tackled the directions and possible next steps in peace engagements with the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People'a Army, and the National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF).

"On the CPP/NPA/NDF, he gave specific instructions on how to deal with the present situation, including possible next steps following the cancellation of peace talks and the unilateral ceasefire declarations," Dureza said.

Duterte ended the peace deal with the communist rebels, after it lifted its unilateral ceasefire.

Malacañang, however, provided four "compelling reasons" that the communist group should comply with, in order for the President to revive the talks.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella earlier said the CPP/NPA/NDF should agree to have a bilateral ceasefire with the government in terms of “the so-called revolutionary tax or ‘extortion;’ ambushes on military personnel; burning of property; and provocative and hostile actions.”

Dureza said Duterte is optimistic that talks with the communists and the Bangsamoro people would yield positive results so he could push through with his proposed federal type of government.

"The President instructed that all these different tracks must gather inputs from the different stakeholders to make the reform agenda inclusive, which must eventually lead to the final goal of installing a federal system throughout the country," he said. (SunStar Philippines)
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