Thursday, July 26, 2018

Bangsamoro Organic Law

See -

"x x x.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law: Everything you need to know
By Ver Marcelo, CNN Philippines, Jul 24, 2018

x x x.

What are the differences between the ARMM and the BARMM?

Political structure and justice system

While the ARMM has a unitary form of government, the BARMM will have a parliamentary-democratic one. This means that the legislative and executive bodies in the ARMM are independent, while those in the BARMM are more closely related and empowered to enact its own laws.

In the ARMM, the residents elect their regional governor and vice governor. The regional governor has his own Cabinet and advisory council. The legislative power lies with the regional legislative assembly, whose 24 members are also elected by the people.

In the BARMM, the residents will elect an 80-member parliament representing different parties, districts, and sectors, including indigenous peoples. The members of the parliament will then elect a chief minister and two deputy chief ministers among themselves. The chief minister shall also appoint members of his Cabinet.

For the judiciary, both autonomous regions give Shari'ah courts jurisdiction over cases exclusively involving Muslims in the region. The OLBARMM gives the Supreme Court the authority to grant the incumbent Shari'ah District and Court judges who are not regular members of the Philippine Bar a period to qualify. Tribal laws will still apply to disputes of indigenous peoples within the region.

Fiscal autonomy and special development fund

Regional government officials under the ARMM must justify their funding before the Congress like other agencies. This resulted in the dependency of the supposed autonomous region on the national government for its annual budget.

Meanwhile, the BARMM will have an automatic allocation of the annual block grant, equivalent to five percent of the net national internal revenue of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs.

The region's share in government revenue taxes, fees, charges, and taxes imposed on natural resources will increase to 75 percent from the current 70 percent.

The national government will also allocate the Bangsamoro P5 billion annually for a period of ten years, which will be used for the rehabilitation of conflict-affected areas.


The ARMM covers the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. The same provinces also comprise the BARMM.

However, a plebiscite still has to determine if 39 barangays in North Cotabato, six municipalities in Lanao del Norte, and the cities of Cotabato in Maguindanao and Isabela in Basilan will be included in the Bangsamoro territory. The plebiscite will be held within three to five months after Duterte signs the law.

Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato will also have to vote as provinces if they are willing to let go of their towns and barangays to join the Bangsamoro.

Contiguous areas may also be included in the BARMM if there is a local government resolution or a petition where at least 10 percent of registered voters seek to join the plebiscite.

For territorial waters, existing laws define only municipal waters nationwide, including those in ARMM. These cover 15 kilometers from the low-water mark of coasts that are part of the territory. The Organic Law, meanwhile, introduces regional waters for the BARMM extending up to 19 kilometers from the low-water mark.

Inland waters

According to the administrative code of the ARMM, inland bodies of water in the region like Lake Lanao remain an "integral part of the national territory" of the country.

For the BARMM, all inland waters will be preserved and managed by the Bangsamoro government. However, those that are utilized for energy in areas outside the BARMM will be co-managed by the Bangsamoro government and the Department of Energy.

All government revenues from the development and usage of natural resources within the BARMM will go to the Bangsamoro government, but revenues from fossil fuels and uranium will be equally shared with the national government.

Defense and security

Like the ARMM, the national government will be responsible for the defense and security of the BARMM.

The Philippine National Police will also organize, maintain, and supervise a Police Regional Office to enforce the law.

Members of the MNLF and MILF may be admitted to the police force. The qualifications for age, height, and educational attainment may be waived if availed within five years after the ratification of the OLBARMM. Recruits from the two rebel groups must fulfill the requirement on educational attainment within 15 years.

Bangsamoro identity

Republic Act 9054, which strengthened the ARMM, provided an all-encompassing definition of the Bangsamoro people.

Section 3(b), Article X of the law states that they are "citizens who are believers in Islam and who have retained some or all of their own social, economic, cultural, and political institutions."

The OLBARMM, meanwhile, recognizes and retains the historical and geographical identity of the Bangsamoro people.

Section 1, Article II of the Organic Law states that Bangsamoro People are "those who, at the advent of the Spanish colonization, were considered natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago and its adjacent islands, whether of mixed or of full blood," including their spouses and descendants.

Filipino Muslims perform 'Tarawih' prayer as they start the Islamic holy month of Ramadan at the Pink Mosque in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao, Philippines.
How will the transition take place?

The transition from ARMM to BARMM will take place after the Commission on Elections holds a plebiscite, ratifying the latter.

President Duterte will then appoint 80 members to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which automatically includes the incumbent officials of the Regional Government. There must also be representatives for non-Moro indigenous communities, youth, women, settler communities, traditional leaders, and other sectors.

Duterte will also appoint an interim Chief Minister among the BTA members, who will then organize an interim Cabinet. Government personnel in education, health, and social welfare agencies will be retained.during this time.

The BTA will hold legislative and executive powers and is considered the Bangsamoro government during the transition.

The first local elections will be held in 2022. The BTA will be dissolved once elected officials assume office.

"When you talk about the BBL, it's the advocacy of every Muslim… For the past years, since martial law, the Muslims have been asking for self-determination." — Professor Jamel Cayamodin
Is the OLBARMM constitutional?

One of the major roadblocks faced by all versions of the BBL is constitutionality.

In 2008, the Supreme Court declared the Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) unconstitutional due to the failure of the government and the MILF to engage and consult the affected communities. The MOA-AD proposed the creation of an autonomous political region in Mindanao with its own police, military, and judicial systems.


How will the Bangsamoro government work with the national government?

The Bangsamoro government will have an asymmetrical relationship with the national government, as the BARMM will have more autonomy than other regions in the country.

While the national government will retain powers over constitutional and national matters such as foreign affairs and defense, the Bangsamoro government will have exclusive powers over some areas including budgeting, administration of justice, agriculture, customary laws, creation of sources of revenue, disaster risk reduction and management, economic zones, ancestral domain, grants and donations, human rights, local government units, public works, social services, tourism, and trade and industry.

Various intergovernmental bodies will also be created to improve relations and resolve issues between the national and Bangsamoro governments.

These bodies include the Philippine Congress-Bangsamoro Parliament Forum, the Fiscal Policy Board, the Joint Body for Zones of Joint Cooperation, the Infrastructure Development Board, the Energy Board, and the Bangsamoro Sustainable Development Board.

x x x."