Stand and deliver, Bangsamoro told

Written by John Paolo Bencito, Standard News.

RIVAL and sometimes warring groups of Moro rebels were challenged to stand and deliver peace and development as Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza announced an upcoming executive order granting more powers to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

“The paradigm shift is that you have to come up with peace and development, both simultaneously, not one after the other,” Dureza said during a forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.

Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza

“[President Rodrigo Duterte] has approved amendments to the charter of my office, from crafting and negotiating peace agreements to also delivering development projects,” said the 68-year-old peacemaker who is on his third stint as presidential troubleshooter.

He said the changes in the OPAPP charter will enable him to help groups-in-conflict deliver the growth and development they have been promising their supporters and have become the main causes of their rebellions.

“The President believes you can sign a hundred peace agreements but if you don’t improve the lives of the people it will be all for naught,” he said.

“So we are going to do that paradigm shift and accelerate socio-economic programs and of course what I refer to as constituency building,” he added.

Dureza noted that Duterte himself in his State of the Nation Address last Monday asked Congress to consider a new Bangsamoro law that will weed out unconstitutional provisions that were presented to the 16th Congress.

He reiterated that Duterte wants a new law that will consolidate the concessions the government agreed to in its agreement with the MILF in 2014, MNLF in 1996, Cordillera people in 1986 plus other stakeholders affected by the conflict.

As regards the Moro people, Dureza said all Bangsamoro groups will be required to unify under the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which will comprise of eight from the MILF and seven from other Bangsamoro groups.

“We will task them first to work among themselves and when they are able to unify, they should draft another enabling law. That is the next best thing we can do,” he said.

He stressed that the new enabling law should not only cover the MILF and MNLF, but also address the existent Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao Law and indigenous peoples.

Source: Standard News