Thursday, April 24, 2014

Peace panels in KL to discuss normalization

From the Manila Bulletin (Apr 24): Peace panels in KL to discuss normalization

The peace panels of the Philippine government (GPH) and Muslim rebels are back in Malaysia for a meeting to constitute four bodies of the Annex on Normalization.

The meeting started yesterday at the Bellamy House, an old colonial house in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, the final draft of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was officially transmitted to the Office of the President (OP) last Tuesday, the 15-member body that drafted it announced yesterday.

Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, GPH panel chairperson, and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) counterpart Mohagher Iqbal head respective delegations at the meeting in Kuala Lumpur, sources said.

The two parties returned to Kuala Lumpur nearly a month after the signing of the historic Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in Manila on March 27.

Coronel-Ferrer’s and Iqbal’s panels were not dissolved or deactivated even after the CAB’s signing because they have to meet to resolve any unfinished or emerging issues or problems.

Earlier, the Manila Bulletin learned that the two panels will work to activate the Joint Normalization Committee (JNC); the International Decommissioning Body (IDB); the Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST); and the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC).

In a text message, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said “the panels are having a meeting in KL (Kuala Lumpur).”

“The purpose is to decide on the composition of the IDB, JNC, and TJRC, which are important to begin the normalization process. These bodies can be found in the Annex on Normalization,” said Coronel-Ferrer.

The CAB contains the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its four annexes — Transitional Mechanism and Modalities; Wealth-sharing; Power-sharing; and Normalization — as well as past agreements.

As the third party facilitator of the peace talks, Malaysia chose the venue for this week’s meeting, which is the Bellamy House.

After its adoption in plenary by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) in Cotabato City on April 18, the 97-page BBL draft was personally submitted by Commissioner Raissa Jajurie to OP Undersecretary Michael Frederick Musngi, the BTC said.

Jajurie was accompanied by BTC Executive Director Esmael Pasigan and selected staff members, the BTC said in a press statement.

It said that last April 14, an initial draft of the BBL was handed over by BTC Chair Mohagher Iqbal also to Musngi.

The President and his legal minds are expected to review the BBL for eventual certification as an urgent bill and transmittal to Congress which resumes sessions on May 5, it said.

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