President Rodrigo Duterte has approved a new “roadmap to peace” that aims to end the long-standing conflict with Moro secessionists and communist insurgents.
The peace plan, which is also seen to bring about development in the country, was presented by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza during the Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Monday.
Dureza said the new peace plan will cover engagements with the Bangsamoro, the impending resumption of peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF), and the implementation of closure agreements with other rebel groups.
“The main context of the approach now in the peace negotiations, for example, with the Bangsamoro is already to declare that the time for negotiations is already over,” he told reporters.
“We are now in the process therefore of implementing the peace agreements that have been signed, first, in 1996 with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) of Nur Misuari; then we have the recent CAB or the Comprehensive Agreement for the Bangsamoro with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and, of course, we have also to deal with the governance unit called the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao covered by Republic Act 9054 or the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao Law and the Indigenous People’s Rights Act,” he added.
The peace roadmap, which Dureza described as “inclusive,” will put in place a mechanism where an all-Moro body will be tasked to draft a new enabling law that will be filed in Congress in lieu of the so-called Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that was not passed by the previous Congress.
“There will be inclusivity, henceforth, under the Duterte Roadmap for Peace where all the Bangsamoro factions, groups will have to come under one roof so that there will be inclusivity in the implementation of all this particular agreements,” Dureza said.
He said the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) provided for in the CAB will be reconstituted with representations coming from the MILF, MNLF, the ARMM, and other Bangsamoro representatives.
Dureza said the Bangsamoro measure will be drafted as the government prepares for the shift to a federal set-up.
The reconstituted and inclusive BTC will also be mandated to propose amendments to the Philippine Constitution that are pertinent to the Bangsamoro.
“We thought that the legislative branch will be a very important component of our work for peace because the executive department which I represent would merely sign an agreement but we know very well that implementation of an enabling law will have to come through Congress and that Congress should approve it. And so, putting already the legislative branch already on early notice and onboard will shorten also this effort that we had,” Dureza explained.
On Monday, Duterte administered the oath of office to newly appointed members of the government peace panel in talks with the radical groups.
The newly appointed peace panel members are Hernani Braganza, Rene Sarmiento, Angela Librado-Trinidad and Noel Felongco.
The oath-taking took place after Duterte and several members of the Cabinet discussed the government’s roadmap to peace.
Also present during the meeting were incoming Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, and the Security Cluster on Security, Justice and Peace composed of National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Solicitor General Jose Calida, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella.