Arroyo pushes for Bangsamoro law


Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has filed her own version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), in support of the Duterte administration’s effort to pursue “just and lasting peace” in Mindanao,

Explaining her House Bill 6121, or the “Basic Act for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” Arroyo said she sought to reflect the aspirations of all stakeholders—Muslim communities, indigenous peoples, sultanates and others —in the proposed Bangsamoro entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

A new political subdivision will be formed, called the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR), which will be composed of the ARMM and the cities of Cotabato and Isabela.

Any province or city that is contiguous and outside the ARMM may join the BAR, provided there is resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least 10 percent of registered voters in the area.

The petition should be filed prior to the plebiscite on the basic law and the process of delimitation of the Bangsamoro geographical area.

While the BAR will remain part of the Philippines, its Bangsamoro Regional Government (BRG), which will have a parliamentary system, will be given the right to self-governance, and be free to pursue its economic, social and cultural development.

It must however respect and adhere to all international treaties and agreements binding upon the national government.

The Bangsamoro Parliament headed by the chief minister will govern the BRG. The chief minister will be elected by a majority vote of all members of the parliament, and appoint a deputy minister who must also come from the parliament.

The parliament will be composed of at least 60 members who are representatives of political parties, elected through a system of proportional representation.

There will be reserved or sectoral seats to represent key sectors including women, indigenous people, labor, youth and sultanates in the BRG. Seats will also be reserved to non-Moro indigenous peoples pursuant to their customary laws.

The term of office of members of parliament will be three years, and they cannot serve for not more than three consecutive terms.

A member of parliament must a be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least 25 years of age on the day of the election, able to read and write, a registered voter in the BAR, and a resident for not less than three years immediately preceding the day of the election.

Arroyo said the relationship between the national government and the BRG will be “asymmetric,” where the autonomous region is granted more power. There will be less intervention from the national government.

The President of the Philippines will exercise general supervision over the BRG to ensure that all laws are faithfully executed.

The national government will retain and exercise the following reserved powers: national defense and internal and external security; foreign affairs; currency and policy direction in the areas of money, credit and banking; citizenship and naturalization; immigration and deportation; customs and tariff laws; common market and global trade: intellectual property rights; supervision over banks and non-banks financial institutions under the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; putting up free ports; and all the powers, functions and responsibilities not granted by the 1987 Philippine Constitution or by law to autonomous regions.

The national government and BRG will exercise shared powers within BAR on the following matters: social security and pensions; quarantine; pollution control; human rights and humanitarian protection and promotion; auditing; civil service; coastguard; customs and tariff; administration of justice; funding for the maintenance of national roads, bridges, and irrigation system; disaster risk reduction and management; and the handling of non-Moro ancestral domains/ancestral lands of the non-Moro indigenous peoples.

Among the exclusive or devolved powers given to BRG are the following: economic and cultural exchange; trade, industry, investment, enterprises and regulation of businesses; labor and employment; barter trade and countertrade with Indonesia, Malaysia or Brunei, subject to existing laws; economic zones and industrial centers; tourism; creation of sources of revenue; budgeting; receipt of grants and donations; education and skills training; culture and language; sports and recreation; housing and human settlements, among others.

To establish a mechanism that will coordinate and harmonize the relationship between the national government and the BRG, Arroyo proposed the creation of an intergovernmental relations body to resolve disputes.

The BRG will have a Council of Leaders composed of the following: the chief minister as chairman, provincial governors, mayors of chartered cities within the BAR, and representatives from the non-Moro indigenous communities, women, settler communities, sultanates and other sectors.

The council will advise the chief minister on matters of governance in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

The representation of the non-Moro indigenous communities will be pursuant to their customary laws and indigenous processes.


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