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Creation of new Muslim region moves forward

New commission tasked with drafting basic laws

  • ucanews.com reporter, Manila
  • Philippines
  • December 18, 2012
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President Benigno Aquino today ordered the creation of transition commission that will draft the basic laws of a new Muslim region in Mindanao.

Teresita Quintos Deles, Aquino's adviser on the peace process, said the order “affirms the president's resolve to move forward the peace process... as a strategic initiative for political stability and economic development.”

She said Aquino's order also provides a mechanism for “authentic democratic collaboration” in the crafting of proposed laws where the affected people themselves are actively involved.

The executive order creates a 15-member body that will be appointed by the president. The rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is expected come up with a list of candidates from among the people of Mindanao.

The transition body will also recommend to Congress proposed amendments to the constitution.

“The aim is to install [a new Muslim region] through a new organic act as soon as possible in order to have an elected Bangsamoro government by 2016,” said Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, head of the government peace panel.

She said the government is committed to the reconstruction of conflict-affected areas and to fast track socio-economic development in the region. 

Aquino's order came after the latest round of peace negotiations with Moro rebels ended in a “technical impasse” on Saturday. The MILF said in a statement that no formal agreements have been reached.

Government and rebel negotiators were supposed to finalize details regarding “power-sharing, wealth-sharing and normalization” before the year end after signing a peace deal on October 15.

The MILF said the unresolved question on whether the MILF will lead the transition body was the reason for the impasse.

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