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What is the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro?

This is a map highlighting the areas included in the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Political Entity. 

On October 15, 2012, the historic GPH-MILF framework agreement was signed by chief negotiator for the GPH Marvic Leonen, MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal, and Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed with President Benigno Aquino III, Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia, Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Secretary-General Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in attendance at the Malacañan Palace in Manila, Philippines. This document outlines general agreements on major issues, including the extent of power, revenues and territory granted for a new Muslim autonomous region to be called Bangsamoro. More details after the jump.

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.

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 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

Download the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro here:

What is Bangsamoro?
The term Bangsamoro refers to a people who are natives of the Sulu archipelago, parts of Mindanao, and parts of Palawan in the Philippines, and parts of Sabah in neighboring Malaysia at the time of conquest or colonization. It comes from the Malay word bangsa, meaning nation or people, and the Spanish word moro, from the Spanish word for Moor, the Reconquista-period term used for Muslims.

Bangsamoro covers the provinces of Basilan, Cotabato, Davao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga Sibugay; and the cities of Cotabato, Dapitan, Dipolog, General Santos, Iligan, Marawi, Pagadian, Puerto Princesa, and Zamboanga.

Source: Official Gazette, Wikipedia

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