Duterte finally names members of body to draft Bangsamoro law

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte finally signed the appointment papers of the 21 members of the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) that will draft an "improved version" of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The proposed law failed to pass Congress in the previous Aquino administration, even if it was meant to implement the peace deal that the government then signed with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Duterte promised during the presidential campaign that the law will be passed if he won the elections. 

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has just released the appointment papers of the 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission. This will signal the start of the work to come up with an inclusive Bangsamoro law that will truly reflect and address the clamor for a genuine political autonomy for the Bangsamoro people in Mindanao,” said chief presidential peace adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza on Friday, February 10. 

It took time to assemble the body. 

The list shows the BTC includes at least 3 members of a faction of rival group Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF): Omar Sema, Firdausi Ismail Abbas, and Hatimil Hassan.

Here's the complete list of the new members of the BTC:

•        Lawyer Jose I. Lorena

•        Lawyer Maisara Dandamun-Latiph

•        Samira Gutoc-Tomawis

•        Datu Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan

•        Dr. Susana Salvador-Anayatin

•        Lawyer Hussin AMIN

•        Romeo Saliga

•        Hatimil Hassan

•        Lawyer Firdausi Ismail Y. Abbas

•        Lawyer Omar Yasser C. Sema

•        Ghadzali Jaafar

•        Mohagher M. Iqbal

•        Abdulraof Abdul Macacua

•        Ibrahim d. Ali

•        Haron M. Abas

•        Lawyer Raissa H. Jajurie

•        Said M. Shiek

•        Hussein P. Muñoz

•        Melanio U. Ulama

•        Gafur A. Kanain

•        Ammal D. Solaiman, J.D. 

The chair of the Government Panel Implementing the Bangsamoro Accords, Irene Santiago, said he expects the BTC to "hit the ground running."

The government wants the BTC to submit a draft to Congress by July 2017.

The government expanded the original 15-member body to include other Mindanao stakeholders, a response to criticism that the BBL ignored other sectors in the region. MILF will chair the body.

The MNLF, previously the dominant Muslim rebel group, had opposed the peace deal with its breakaway group MILF because it will abolish the current Autonomous Region in Muslaim Mindanao (ARMM) that was created as an implementation of its 1976 peace deal with the government. 

The MILF was founded by an MNLF group that opposed the 1976 agreement. They wanted more powers for the region. 

The MNLF is now divided into several factions. The government planned to create a separate peace panel to discuss the proposals of MNLF founder Nur Misuari. – Rappler.com