Last October 7, 2012, the Government of Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front released the Framework of Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which will pave the way for the establishment of the new autonomous political entity, the Bangsamoro, to replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Download it here.
Bangsamoro Proposed Territory
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the framework agreement?
It is a commitment by the government and the MILF to establish a new autonomous political entity in Muslim Mindanao. It will replace the ARMM with a more empowered and more equitable system called the Bangsamoro. This agreement involves the MILF abandoning the goal of establishing a separate state, and committing to eventually render its armed forces “beyond use.”
Despite the 1996 peace agreement with the MNLF, the ARMM continues to be among the poorest and least developed regions in the country. In 2009, poverty incidence in the region was at 38.1%. All provinces in the region were also recorded to be above the national poverty incidence of 20.9 percent.
This did not happen for lack of funds. According to the Commission on Audit’s special audit, of the 850 million pesos allocated for infrastructure projects in ARMM’s 2010 budget, not one construction budget was completed. 90 percent of ARMM’s funding was allocated to “Personnel Services,” and until now, that money has not been accounted for.
Poverty, corruption, and impunity in the region cannot be defeated without structural change.
How is this different from the MOA-AD?
First, this framework agreement does not commit the government to constitutional change.
Second, the agreement has been done in full transparency, as noted by its publication online prior to its signing.
Third, there is no mention of ancestral domain in the document.
Fourth, while the MOA-AD  was written in such a way that the government could have acted without a plebiscite. This Framework Agreement  is very clear in requiring a democratic mandate. First, the organic law, to be written by the Transition Committee, must be passed by Congress. Then the communities involved must approve it by plebiscite. Assuming the law is passed and the plebiscite is approved, then the MILF must seek an elected mandate from the people.
Do we need to Revise the Constitution?
The framework agreement does not commit any of the parties to work for charter change. The major political commitments that were made in the Framework Agreement can be achieved within the flexibilities of the existing constitution.
Nevertheless, Article 17 of the Constitution allows any citizen to recommend ideas to amend the constitution through proper legal processes.
What will happen to the BIAF?
Under this agreement, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces will be put “beyond use” through a gradual process of decommissioning.
What is the scope of the territory?
The Framework Agreement states: “The core territory of the Bangsamoro shall be composed of: (a) the present geographical area of the ARMM; (b) the Municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunugan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte and all other barangays in the Municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit, and Midsayap that voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite; (c) the cities of Cotabato and Isabela; and (d) all other contiguous areas where there is a resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least ten percent (10%) of the qualified voters in the area asking for their inclusion at least two months prior to the conduct of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and the process of delimitation of the Bangsamoro….”
What if we don’t want to be part of this?
All areas contemplated to be under the Bangasmoro will be asked through a plebiscite if they want to be included. This gives the community the choice to opt out of the Bangsamoro.
What powers will they have? Are they going to be independent?
The Bangsamoro will have competence over Shari’ah courts that will try personal, non-criminal cases between Muslims.
Moreover, according to the Framework Agreement: “Consistent with the Bangsamoro Basic Law will have the power to create its own sources of revenues and to levy taxes, fees, and charges, subject to limitations as may be mutually agreed upon by the Parties. This power shall include the power to determine tax bases and tax rates, guided by the principles of devolution of power, equalivzation, equity, accountability, administrative simplicity, harmonization, economic efficiency, and fiscal autonomy.”
Nevertheless, the national government retains powers on:
a. Defense and external security
b. Foreign policy
c. Common market and global trade, provided that the power to enter into economic agreements already allowed under Republic Act No. 9054 shall be transferred to the Bangsamoro
d. Coinage and monetary policy
e. Citizenship and naturalization
f. Postal service
How do you have a parliamentary government under a presidential government?
There is nothing in the Constitution which prohibits an autonomous area from having a ministerial form of government. The Constitution also states that whatever government is in the autonomous region, it shall always be under the supervision of the President.