BTC will have new chairman: Iqbal

Mohagher Iqbal, Chair of the MILF Implementing Peace Panel said during the Bangsamoro CSO Leaders Consultation-Workshops on Mindanao Peace Process organized by the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) held in Davao City from November 21-25, 2016, that the reconstituted Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) will have a new chairman, also from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)  as he will focus his attention to the implementation process of the GPH-MILF Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

“I am no longer head of the BTC”, Iqbal disclosed during the presentation of his topic, “Updates on Peace Process, Opportunities and Challenges” under the Duterte Administration.

Iqbal however, refused to name the new chairman pending the signing of the appointments of the commissioners that will compose the BTC, from the GPH and the MILF by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.

The reconstituted Executive Order No.08 amending further the EO No. 120 and was further amended by EO No. 187 was signed by President Duterte in Malacañan Palace on November 7, 2016.  

The BTC will be composed of 21 members, 11 from the MILF and 10 from the government which will include the MNLF Muslimen Sema faction, indigenous peoples, the sultanates, etc.

Iqbal also told the participants that there are three tracks in the mode of engagement in implementation. “The implementation phase have three tracks, the first track is Security Aspect, second is Normalization Process, and the third track is Enactment of the BBL”, Iqbal explained.

Under the first track he said is maintaining the ceasefire with the presence of International Monitoring Team (IMT), Coordination Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), Ad-hook Joint Action Group (AHJAG) including the campaign against kidnaping and drugs. 

“In the second phase of implementation is the decommissioning of MILF forces and weapons but it is parallel to the passage of the BBL’, Iqbal said. He further said that the Security Aspect and Normalization Process is bilateral agreement between the government and MILF.

The third phase is unilateral to the government. “The MILF is not participating the process; it is internal to the government to pass the BBL in Congress,” he said. Iqbal said that the only indirect participation of the MILF is through the BTC.

On the issue of federalism, Iqbal said: “It is a matter of questions of sequence, we welcome and support the federalism but the BBL should be passed first.” 

“Federalism could solve the entire problems of peoples in the country while the BBL can solve the Bangsamoro question on Right to Self-Determination”, Iqbal added.