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Out of the loop agad? Misuari conspicuously absent in signing of Bangsamoro Commission

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Less than a week after he welcomed aging Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari at Malacanang in the name of peace in Mindanao, the Moro chieftain was nowhere to be seen in the company of Moro Islamic Liberation Front Implementing Panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal and MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad during ceremonies for the signing of the order that will expand the number of members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

In a speech, President Duterte said it has long been his dream to see peace in Mindanao.

“I witnessed there are so many body bags carried out in Davao and those places where they’re fighting for their lands. I said this would be a tragedy because, if from here if theres nobody to take cudgels for Mindanao, fighting will continue,” Duterte said.

Duterte said he is the only presidential candidate who also truly campaigned with the welfare of his fellow Mindanaoans in mind.

“If there is no person who will stand for peace in Mindanao, we’ll have another round of 40, almost 45 years of fighting,” he said.

“So, we are faced with the dilemma of fighting for 45 years added, let alone to the problem of Communist Party of the Philippines, we have well are fighting for almost 45 years. There seem to be no respite for trouble that ails the country,” Duterte said. “I decided to run in platform, there should be structure acceptable to the people of Republic of Philippines, one that should be adopted willingly by Moro people in Mindanao,” he said.

Secretary Jesus Dureza, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, announced that the government will also talk to a five-person panel to be formed by Misuari– who was conspicuously absent in the event.

Dureza said Misuari will be represented in the BTC but any recommendations which (Nur’s) group will formulate will be submitted to Congress. The formation of the BTC has been covered by the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which was the final agreement signed by the government and the MILF.

The President caused the suspension of hearings and enforcement of warrants of arrest against Misuari so he could participate in the peace process.

Along with other members of the Cabinet, MILF Chairman Al Haj Ebrahim Murad and members of the MILF Central Committee; GPH Implementing Panel Chair Irene M. Santiago; MILF Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal were present during the rites in Malacanang.

Duterte has directed that the Mindanao peace process be inclusive. He issued Executive Order that will expand the BTC from 15 to 21 members. Eleven members, including the BTC Chair, will come from the MILF, and 10 will be nominated by the government.

Santiago said that the government nominees were “a diverse group selected on the basis of their proven capacity to listen to many voices”.

President Duterte has also directed that since there is only one Bangsamoro, the provisions not yet implemented in the 1996 agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the MILF be consolidated into one enabling law. In view of this, the government has agreed to include among its nominees three members from the MNLF.