By ALEX D. LOPEZ
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will continue to exist until a new law is passed.
This was clarified yesterday afternoon, October 8, by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) chief negotiator Marvic Leonen in a press briefing in Malacañang.
The chief negotiator added that incumbent ARMM governor Mujib Hataman fully supports the framework agreement and the peace process.
The framework agreement was forged between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) during the 32nd Round of Exploratory Talks on October 2 to 7 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
According to Leonen, after the framework agreement is signed, President Aquino will sign an Executive Order creating a transition commission.
The members of the transition commission shall be appointed by the President and will recommend legislation to the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The forged agreement has drawn mixed reactions from various groups and individuals.
Moro group Suara, in a message sent to davaotoday.com, said they welcome the signing of the framework of agreement as a positive step for the MILF in finding solution to the problems of the Bangsamoro people but added they are also very critical at how the Aquino government will use the agreement for its own ends.
“The framework was crafted at the time that the issue of Charter change is brewing,” said Amirah Ali Lidasan of Suara.
But Leonen, in the same press conference, denied any relation of the framework to Charter change by stating the there is no possibility for now to amend the constitution.
Leonen’s statement runs contrast to the statement raised by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte during the opening of the session in Congress who said the creation of a Bangsamoro state may need constitutional amendments.
Suara’s concern is also shared by Kawagib, a Moro human rights group based in Cotabato City.
Bai Ali Indayla, Kawagib’s spokesperson, when interviewed by davaotoday.com said the forged framework should not be utilized as leverage for charter change that would open Philippine laws to advance foreign interests especially in owning lands in the country particularly in Mindanao.
Indayla reminded the Bangsamoro people that the agreed framework is not yet the final agreement. The framework will only serve as the basis to the vital talking points between the two parties.
“The details of the framework are important which the people should watch,” Indayla added.
Kawagib also called on the Aquino government to be sincere in pursuing peace in Mindanao.
Militarization is still massive in the rural areas and those soldiers identified as perpetrators in human rights violations remain unpunished, Kawagib added. (Alex D. Lopez/davaotoday.com)