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MANILA, Philippines - A new task force that will oversee the government's recently-launched social services program in Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) communities and other areas in Mindanao has been established.
President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday, February 13, signed Administrative Order No. 37 creating the Task Force on Bangsamoro Development -- which will manage the government's health, education and livelihood projects for MILF communities, internally displaced persons and poverty-stricken areas in Mindanao, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte announced Tuesday, February 19.
On February 11, Aquino launched Sajahatra Bangsamoro in a historic visit to MILF grounds, where he shared the stage with MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and turned over scholarships, Philhealth cards and livelihood projects to members of the MILF community.
As part of its responsibilities, the Task Force will be in charge of coordinating with the Transition Commission in monitoring the implementation of programs under Sajahatra Bangsamoro. The Commission will draft the Basic Law that will serve as legal basis for the new Bangsamoro political identity under the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).
Aquino told reporters in Maguindanao on February 11 that he will name the 15 members that will comprise the Transition Commission in a week or so. As per the FAB, 8 of the members will come from nominees of the MILF while the rest will come from the government's.
To be chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, member agencies of the Task Force will include:
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Department of Social Welfare and Development
Department of Labor and Employment
Department of Health
Department of Education
Department of Agriculture
Department of Interior and Local Government
Presidential Management Staff
Department of Budget and Management
Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office
Presidential Communications Operations Office
Office of the Presidential Spokesperson
Commission on Higher Education
Technical Educations and Skills Development Authority
According to AO 37, funding for the Task Force this year will come from the current budgets of the member agencies while the President’s Social Fund and Contingent Fund could inject additional funds if necessary. No specific amount was indicated.
The introduction of a basic services program for MILF communities jumpstarts the normalization process under the FAB even as the respective peace panels of the government and the MILF have yet to thresh out remaining issues in the annexes on normalization, power-sharing and wealth-sharing. These will complement the FAB.
Both parties hope to sign a comprehensive peace agreement by March. - Rappler.com