With the first month of the new year almost over, President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to sign the appointment papers of the new members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), a delay which could potentially push back the July deadline for a polished draft of the law that would grant autonomy to the Bangsamoro region.
Mr. Duterte signed Executive Order No. 8, which reconstituted the BTC membership, expanding it from 15 to 21.
The President wanted a “broad and diverse composition” of the group that would work on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that was shelved in the 16th Congress in the aftermath of the bloody Mamasapano antiterrorist operation nearly two years ago.
However, Iqbal said the BTC could not yet begin its work because the 21 commissioner nominees “have not yet received their appointment papers from President Duterte.”
Asked why, Iqbal said they have no idea.
Iqbal said a delay in the reconvening of the BTC could set back the timetable of the commission, which has to complete the proposed BBL on or before July 17, the opening of Congress and the President’s second State of the Nation Address.
The BTC needs sufficient time to work on the proposed BBL that underwent massive revisions in Congress following the Mamasapano incident.