Public hearings to expand autonomy for peace

THE Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will consult the public on proposed amendments to its charter by Congress to com-plement any peace agreement that the government may sign with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The public consultation series started last August 30 in Maguin-danao on RLA’s review and study of Republic Act 9054, the Ex-panded Autonomy Act of 2001.

In his statement read by Re-gional Cabinet Secretary Norkhalila Mae Mambuay-Campong, ARMM Officer-In-Charge Governor Mujiv Hataman said he extended executive support to this  independent move by the legislative body for an essential democratic process.

Hataman said he has upheld the essence of community consultation for people empowerment in his student years and later, as peace activist with the Congress’ Progressive Bloc, having a partylist representative of Anak Mindanao for three terms.

Assemblyman Khaddafeh Mangudadatu of Maguindanao and RLA’s minority floor leader, assured that the region’s indigenous peoples (IP) and Christian communities will be covered by the assembly’s extended public hearings on proposed measures to strengthen the autonomy in preparation for any peace agreement with the MILF.

The MILF has consistently disapproved of an autonomy setup that the government offers through the ARMM.

The group has, however, hinted on another autonomous structure under a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity.

Assemblyman Romeo Sema, RLA’s majority floor leader, said Republic Act 10153 which synchronizes regional polls with the local and national elections May 2013, mandates the assembly to recommend and provide inputs to Congress on updating the ARMM charter.

Sema said RA 9054 fell short of the government supposed compliance with its 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front, and that it was about time to amend that law for the Moro people to exercise their right to self determination.

Mitmug said some of the measures that the current RLA will recommend to Congress, once approved in community consultations would be the creation of Regional Security Force, Recognition of Tribal Courts, and the formation of a human rights body by act of Congress which the region’s legislative body has initially created.

“This is the essence of “masuara,” which means consultation in Islam.” The first leg of the consultation will be conducted for Maguindanao communities, and subsequently in Lanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

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