• Monday, Feb 10 2014
  • Written by  AL-ARKAN IBNUSMAN

Two secretaries, a regional governor, a provincial governor and an undersecretary were the guests of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) as it formally “opens” its office in Cotabato City February 8.

The delegation of DILG Sec. Mar Roxas, OPAPP Sec. Teresita Deles and DND Usec. Natalio Ecarma III was joined by ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman and Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu in gracing the ceremonial public opening hosted by BTC Chairman Mohagher Iqbal and commissioners.

Iqbal toured the guests in the premises of the BTC office located along Cotabato City’ busiest road.
Iqbal explained that the formal opening of the BTC office may have been belated but the “historic tasks of the BTC” have been started already months ago. “Over the past several months, this modest office has already seen plenary meetings, committee sessions and consultations, as well as entertaining various public concerns,” he told his guests who were accompanied also by military and police top brass, regional bureaucrats and several civilian authorities.

The soft-spoken BTC chairman, who also heads the MILF Negotiating Panel since 2005, mentioned the recent courtesy calls made by the Commission to House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., Senate President Franklin Drilon and President Benigno Aquino III.

“All the top three leaders of country have signified their full support to the BTC and to the eventual passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” Iqbal said.

Thus, they look forward look forward to “the snowballing of public support to the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law” because “there is no other option for us all but to support the peace process.”

DILG Sec. Mar Roxas assured the BTC that the “President, his government, his cabinet ...” are with the commissioners in this “journey” of crafting the Basic Law.

“We are with you, we will walk with you and we will see this through in its successful end,” Roxas said.
In 2008, Roxas was one of those who openly opposed the MOA-AD which was eventually declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Iqbal sincerely thanked all the leaders who visited them, saying “we may have differences in the past, but I can assure you that for the greater cause of peace and the negotiated political settlement for the Bangsamoro Question, we are more than willing to bury the hatchet, so to speak, and move forward in one common direction.”

In the press conference, OPAPP Sec. Deles assured ARMM employees that they are all protected by civil service laws and those laws would be respected.

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