Monday, 10 February 2014 00:00
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas rallied governors, mayors and other elected officials of Mindanao to extend their all-out support to the Framework Agreement for Bangsamoro (FAB) forged between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Roxas said local officials are in the best position to explain to their constituents the advantages of creating a new Bangsamoro region as an essential step in securing just and lasting peace in Mindanao.
“Together with the President, I celebrate with the whole of Mindanao and the entire country on the potential that the FAB brings,” Roxas said Saturday where he led the opening of Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) office in Cotabato City.
Joining Roxas in the BTC office inauguration were Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles, MILF chief negotiator-Cum BTC head Mohagher Iqbal, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hataman and Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, among others.
Apart from Iqbal, the 15 members of the Commission, of which seven were nominated by the government and eight recommended by the MILF, include Akmad A. Sakkam, Johaira C. Wahab, Talib A. Benito, Asani S. Tammang, Pedrito A. Eisma, Froilyn T. Mendoza, Fatmawati T. Salapuddin, Robert M. Alonto, Abdulla U. Camlian, Ibrahim D. Ali, Raissa H. Jajurie, Melanio U. Ulama, Hussein P. Munoz and Said M. Sheik.
The BTC is tasked to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law that will be certified urgent by the President and submitted to Congress for passage. It will undergo a plebiscite in the proposed Bangsamoro territory as per the framework agreement.
This developed as the MILF declared that its door remains open to Ustadz Ameril Ombra Kato and his Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) should the latter embrace the ongoing peace agreement.
Kato bolted out of the MILF in 2010 to form the BIFF due to ideological differences with his MILF comrades.
“We still have not burned bridges with him (Kato),” Iqbal said.
The BIFF, with an estimated 250 armed members, recently figured in clashes with state troopers in the borders of Maguindanao and North Cotabato following a six-day law enforcement operation launched by the military.
At least one soldier and 52 BIFF elements were killed in the series of clashes.
Deles, said that there is no existing truce agreement with the BIFF, as the latter was not covered by the July 1997 agreement on the cessation of hostilities with the MILF.
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