Dureza: Peace roadmap to pave the way for federalism

In a meeting in Malacañan on Monday, President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved the new “Roadmap to Peace” that will address issues with various rebel groups, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza announced during a press briefing on Tuesday.

Work on a proposed Bangsamoro enabling law will be done simultaneously with the effort to install a federal system of government, Dureza said, adding that the mechanism is aimed at setting up a federal state of the Bangsamoro and will proceed towards a nationwide federal setup.

“This will cover our engagements with the Bangsamoro and the CPP-NPA-NDF, and then, of course, our effort to do closure to the agreements with the other rebel groups like the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army and the RBB,” Sec. Dureza said.

Under the Duterte administration, the peace process with communist and Muslim rebels will not only be inclusive and committed to all signed peace agreements, but will also be consistent with planned reforms.

“We are now in the process of implementing the peace agreements that have been signed, first, in 1996 with the Moro National Liberation Front of Nur Misuari; then, we have the recent CAB or the Comprehensive Agreement for the Bangsamoro with the 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. Perhaps we can put also in the same level the concerns of the IPs or the Lumads as covered by the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act,” Dureza said.

In the same Malacañan meeting, PRRD also approved the resumption of peace talks with the CPP-NDF-NPA. The panel headed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III led in the oath taking of the new panel members. The formal talks with the communist rebels have been set on August 20 to 27 this year.

Also present in the said meeting were the two presumptive leaders of Congress: Senator Aquilino Pimentel III and Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.

“We thought that the legislative branch would 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,” Dureza explained.

The Peace Roadmap is going to pick up the pieces that were left off from the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), which was tasked to come up with a draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The BTC will be recomposed under the Roadmap as approved by President Duterte.

The all-Moro BTC will be mandated to do two things: to draft a more inclusive proposed enabling law that will be filed with Congress in lieu of the BBL; and to propose amendments to the Constitution as originally stated in the mandate of the BTC. (PND)