MILF peace pact might require amendment to ARMM Organic Act — Nograles

January 31, 2010 12:24 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Jan. 30 -Speaker Prospero Nograles on Saturday said that Congress might need to amend the existing Organic Act of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), or create an entirely new law on Muslim Mindanao, to ensure the success of the peace talks.

Peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will resume on Feb. 18 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Nograles said there might be a need to sync the existing ARMM Organic Act with the conditions provided under an era of permanent peace between the government and the MILF.

"In view of the ongoing peace-talk between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and of the various proposals on Muslim Mindanao such as the bill filed by Congressman (Nur) Jaafar, I will get the House of Representatives to start working on a possible amendment of the Organic Act for Autonomous Muslim Mindanao or for the crafting of an entirely new law on Muslim Mindanao," he said.

"We might need to tune-up the existing ARMM Organic Act or craft a new law for Muslim Mindanao so that it can also deal with the distinct problems pertaining to the MILF. This enhanced or new law will take into consideration the framework and the eventual agreements of the ongoing peace-talk between the government and the MILF. It will also take as inputs the results of consultations on the matter that the House shall undertake," he said.

Nograles said that there was one pending measure (House Bill 1769) seeking to amend the ARMM Organic Act, which could be expanded to address all other concerns that might arise out of the peace talks.

HB 1769, which was authored by Tawi-tawi Rep. Nur Jaafar, seeks to amend the ARMM Organic Act to decentralize the system of appointments for teachers and other officers and employees of the ARMM bureaucracy.

Jaafar said that the present system, which solely delegates the appointing power to the ARMM Governor, has been causing too much bottleneck in the issuance of appointments and delayed salaries for teachers and lower ranking officers and employees of the ARMM.

Under the proposed measure, appointment of low-ranking officers will be vested upon the heads of the departments, agencies and commissions or boards concerned. The appointments of teachers will be delegate to their respective school division superintendents.

Nograles said the Tawi-tawi solon's proposed amendment to the ARMM Organic Act could be expanded to accommodate reasonable terms resulting from the ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the MILF.

Meanwhile, Annabel Abaya, chairman of the GRP negotiating peace with the MILF, said "both camps just exchanged our respective expectations and we will continue discussing based on what both camps can offer."

"We decided to resume in two weeks after MILF shall have consulted with their principals and stakeholders," she added. (PNA) RMA/LGI

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