MANILA: A senior government official on Monday announced the appointment by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino of 15 members of the Transition Commission mandated to craft a proposed law creating a new Bangsamoro political entity aimed at bringing just and lasting peace to strife-torn Mindanao.
Secretary Edwin Lacierda, the presidential spokesman, said Aquino named Mohagher Iqbal, the chief negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) talking peace with the government, to head the commission.
The appointments coincided with the resumption of talks on Monday between the government and the MILF in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which has been retained as the third party facilitator.
Lacierda announced that President Aquino named the following as the seven government representatives to the commission: Akmad Sakkam, Johaira Wahab, Talib Benito, Asani Taminang, Pedrito Eisma, Froilyn Mendoza and Fatmawati Salapuddin.
The seven, Lacierda said, were appointed by Aquino as recommended by a three-member government selection committee headed by Secretary Leila de Lima of the Department of Justice.
On the other hand, the eight other commission members led by MILF’s Iqbal were recommended by the front and also composed of Robert Alonto, Abdulla Camlian, Ibrahim Ali, Raissa Jajuri, Melanio Lilaing, Hussein Munoz and Said Shiek, according to Lacierda.
He revealed Aquino has allocated an initial $2.5 million to enable the commission to accomplish its work.
The creation of the Transition Commission was contained in the landmark framework agreement signed by the government and the MILF in Malacanang Palace on Oct.15.
President Aquino and other officials described the agreement as a roadmap that could lead to the signing of a treaty in March to bring lasting peace and end decades-long war and violence in Mindanao.
Under the agreement, the government is to set up a new Bangsamoro juridical entity to be carved out from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) composed of the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan and Sulu as well as Marawi City.
Among others, the commission is mandated to prepare a proposed law creating the Bangsamoro entity to be presented as an urgent legislative measure to the Philippine House of Representatives and the Senate.