Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace
November 7, 2016

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed an executive order establishing an expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission in a ceremony at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace.

In his message, the President reaffirmed his stand towards the creation of an autonomous federal government in Muslim Mindanao as a means to put an end to the Moros’ armed struggle towards independence.

“My only desire is that [for] peace in Mindanao would finally come, and if it can be done peacefully without a fight we would be grateful to God, but not if a single blood has been shed in this new undertaking of giving a country, finally, the deliverance from violence,” President Duterte said. He added that he is willing to extend a hand in friendship with other armed groups only to ensure lasting peace in the country.

In the same event, the President announced that he is cancelling the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) procurement of 26,000 M16 assault riffles with the United States of America, saying that he will look for other vendors that offer a cheaper price point yet are durable and as good as the ones ordered.

“I am ordering the police to cancel it. Hindi natin kailangan… Why should we hurry it? Sino patayin ko niyan? Wala tayong kalaban, tayo-tayo lang nagpapatayan dito,” the President said.

With the signing of the executive order, the President officially enacted the creation of a more expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), the sole body tasked to craft the enabling law that will serve as a legal foundation of the future Bangsamoro government.

In a separate press briefing, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza clarified that the expanded BTC will have ten members from the Government of the Philippines (GPH) side, eleven members from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as well as members from various sectors and other stakeholders of what will become the Bangsamoro government.

Secretary Dureza hopes to submit the BTC’s enabling law to Congress by July 2017.

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