P100M for Bangsamoro Transcom still not released: Iqbal

By Lore Mae Andong, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at May 01 2013 08:40 PM | Updated as of May 02 2013 04:40 AM

COTABATO CITY, Philippines -- The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (TransCom) of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Wednesday held its second session in Cotabato City, which is the seat of the Bangsamoro.

The 15 members of the commission were all present in the two-day session sponsored by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

TransCom Chairman Mohagher Iqbal said the first day of the session was a learning session with resource speakers like Professor Yash Ghai from Kenya who is a scholar in constitutional law; his wife Dr. Jill Cottrell, who is an expert in human rights, sovereignty and democracy; Dean Benny Bacani; and Atty. Nasser Marohomsalic, the former commissioner-at-large of the Regional Consultative Commission for Muslim Mindanao.

The second day, meanwhile, focused on the structure of the transition commission where they plan to organize three committees namely: Committee on Basic Law, Committee on Proposal and Amendments to the Constitution, and Committee on Socio-economic.

The commission also plans to organize the fourth committee which will focus on other relevant issues that may arise.

The TransCom had its first session last March after it was inaugurated and its members took their oath.

Iqbal said they will be holding most of their sessions in Cotabato City, where they plan to put up an office, but will not discount the possibility of having sessions in the island provinces in the region as well in Zamboanga City.

Meanwhile, Iqbal admitted that since the 15-man commission was created, they are still having a problem with their budget.

The TransCom had an initial budget of P100 million from the Office of the President but until now, none has been released to them.

Iqbal said he has already written to the president requesting for the initial fund.

The TransCom continues to conduct its sessions and meetings, sourcing out some work to other sectors and organizations.

Meanwhile, Maulana Alonto of the MILF TransCom told the media in a press conference held after the session this afternoon that they already have a road map to follow.

"We don't want to go into speculations and we will cross the bridge when we get to Manila, Insha'allah," Alonto said.

The TransCom will conduct a series of consultations not only within ARMM but also outside the region.

"We will consult every sector in the society, may it be Christians and IPs. We will make sure that it involve the  masses, so that it will reach everybody and everybody will own the process," Iqbal said.

He said the signing of the three remaining annexes of the framework agreement will fast-track the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

"We can move very fast if the three annexes will be signed," he said.

The TransCom will hold its third session this month.