Bangsamoro transition commission holds 1st meeting

By Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 03 2013 05:25 PM | Updated as of Apr 05 2013 12:39 AM

MANILA – The Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) formally introduced the members of the transition commission that has been mandated to draft the Bangsamoro basic law that will pave the way to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Political Entity. 

The 15-member panel is led by MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal.

Seven of the members were nominated by the government and 8 were recommended by the MILF.  

The transition commission held the ceremonial opening and first official meeting Wednesday morning. 

In his speech, Iqbal said the MILF views the commission as its first initial partnership with government. 

He said the commission's role is to come up with legislation that will establish a new Bangsamoro political entity that embodies the political, social, economic and cultural aspirations of the Bangsamoro people. 

He promised it to be transparent, open and participative in its approach. 

For her part, Sec. Teresita Quintos Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said that as one collegial body the commission will be able to craft inclusive processes and multiple perspectives and sentiments in the shaping of a participatory and empowering political institutions in the future of the Bangsamoro. 

She hopes that within this administration’s term of office, the Philippines will achieve lasting peace in Mindanao. 

Sabah claim

However, during a press conference, the commission members sidestepped the issue and claim over Sabah.  

Iqbal said the Sabah issue has never been part of the negotiations and will therefore not be part of the transition commission. 

He said the Sabah issue is a bilateral and diplomatic problem between the Philippines and Malaysia. 

He also said Malaysia will continue to be a facilitator of the peace process because since the start, Malaysia has been facilitating the talks.