Friday, April 5, 2013

TC to undertake consultations in areas covered by Basic Law

From the Website of OPPAP

TC to undertake consultations in areas covered by Basic Law

Posted on Thursday, 4 April, 2013 - 15:22

The Transition Commission (TC), the body mandated to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law, is set to undertake consultations in all communities that will be covered by the law.

“If possible the last man, last woman will be consulted. Para ang resulta niyan (So that) they will own the process; they will own the basic law,” said Mohagher Iqbal, chair of the TC and head of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel, during a press conference held after the ceremonial opening of the Commission’s first en banc meeting held on Wednesday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pasig City.

“The people must own it. The people in Mindanao, everybody,” he added. “This is for peace. Peace for our people, peace for Mindanao and peace for the Philippines…so I don’t see any reason why people will reject that (Basic Law) or why Congress will reject that,” he added.

Johaira Wahab, former head of the legal team of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel and the youngest member of the TC, explained that the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, as part of the Bangsamoro core territory are included in those consultations.

“Of course the work of the TransCom will not happen in a vacuum, it will not take place in a social or political vacuum.” She stressed that the work of the TC will not ignore realities on the ground, in answer to question from the media on whether the TC will address the issue on Sabah.

Despite the fact that the Sabah issue is not within the Commission’s “primary mandate,” its members have been doing ways in their individual capacities to reach out to several government bodies, civil society organizations and affected communities.

Fatmawati Salapuddin, a Tausug member of the TC and former official in the National Commission of Muslim Filipinos, said that the Commission is also concerned about the Sabah issue “We are of different ethnic groups. All of us are concerned. We will surely look at how peaceful means will be pursued, but it is not a primary function of TransCom.”

On the other hand, Iqbal maintained that the Sabah issue has never been part of the agenda in the 16- year GPH-MILF peace negotiations.

Iqbal, nevertheless, expressed hope that it will be resolved. “What we would like to appeal is for parties (the two governments) to settle the issue peacefully.” He added that “they should talk it out on the issue of human rights violations. It is not in the level of negotiations.”

Composed of 15 members coming from various ethnic backgrounds, the TC will begin its work on drafting the Basic Law following its first meeting.

The draft Basic Law will be certified as urgent by the President, submitted to Congress for passage, and subjected to a plebiscite in proposed core territory of the Bangsamoro. Once the law is ratified, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will be abolished and the new Bangsamoro region will be established. #