21 members of expanded Bangsamoro transition body named

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The quest for peace in Mindanao is back on track again with the appointment of 21 members to make up the new and expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

The newly-formed body will draft a new Bangsamoro enabling law after the old Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was not enacted in the previous Congress.

"This will signal the start of the work to come up with an inclusive Bangsamoro law that will truly reflect and address the clamor for a genuine political autonomy for the Bangsamoro people in Mindanao," Secretary Jesus Dureza, the presidential adviser on the peace process, said as the announcement was made Friday.

The BTC — which previously had only 15 members — now has 11 members from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), with the government side having seven members, while three members are from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). MILF will take the chairmanship.

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Irene Santiago, chair of the Government Panel Implementing the Bangsamoro Accords, said the members were chosen because of their capacity to listen and their extensive knowledge in Mindanao.

"It is expected that the new members of the BTC will hit the ground running. Their role is vital for us to reach a CAB (Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro)-compliant enabling law," she said.

The government has set a deadline for the BTC to submit the draft to Congress by July for deliberations and ratification.