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Bangsamoro Organic Law

Bangsamoro Organic Law
Ph locator bangsamoro.png
Areas in red constitute the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region
17th Congress of the Philippines
Organic Law for the Bangsamoro in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)[1]
Enacted by House of Representatives of the Philippines
Enacted by Senate of the Philippines
Legislative history
Bill citation House Bill No. 6475
Introduced by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, and Minority Leader Danilo Suarez
First reading October 3, 2017
Second reading May 30, 2018
Third reading May 30, 2018
Bill citation Senate Bill No. 1717
Introduced by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III et al.
First reading February 28, 2018
Second reading May 31, 2018
Third reading May 31, 2018
Date passed by conference committee July 18, 2018

The Bangsamoro Organic Law, also known as Bangsamoro Basic Law and often referred to by the acronym "BBL" (Filipino: Batayang Batas para sa Rehiyong Awtonomo ng Bangsamoro),[2] refers to a number of similar legislative bills to establish a proposed new autonomous political entity known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, replacing the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).[3]

The measure was first proposed and deliberated upon by the 16th Congress of the Philippines but failed to pass into law. The issue was taken up once again in the 17th Congress where two complimentary bills has currently passed in the Senate and House of Representatives respectively. The two chambers are currently set to meet in a bicameral conference to reconcile the two versions of the bill before it being ratified into law.

As an organic act, the Basic Law aims to abolish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and provide for the basic structure of government for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, following the agreements set forth in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro peace agreement signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2014.[3]

Parts of the proposed law

The various portions of the BBL as proposed by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission which had been assigned to draft the bill include sections covering:[4]

  • General Provisions
  • Bangsamoro Identity
  • Bangsamoro territory
  • Political Autonomy and Bangsamoro Government
  • Inter-Governmental Relations
  • Bangsamoro Justice System
  • Public Order and Safety
  • Fiscal Autonomy
  • Economy and Patrimony
  • Natural Resources
  • details of the plebiscite that would lead to ratification of the BBL
  • and the details of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority that would be set up in the meantime

Legislative history

The draft of the law was submitted by President Benigno Aquino III to Congress leaders on September 10, 2014.[5]

An Ad Hoc committee assigned to the bill by Philippine House of Representatives passed its version of the bill, House Bill 5811, on May 20, 2015.[6][7]

In the Philippine Senate, a revised version of the BBL, known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region Law (Senate Bill 2894[8]), was presented on August 11, 2015[9] after lengthy deliberations on the BBL in the Committee on Local Government,[9] and was due for interpellation on August 17, 2015.[10] Due to the length and complexity of the bill, however, the senate temporarily deferred the period of interpellation for the bill.[11] The 16th Congress went on recess without passing the bill on February 2, 2016.[12]

The passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, initially not set to be tackled by the 17th Congress of the Philippines,[13] is now being pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte.[14] Poised to pass within the second session of the 17th Congress, the latest draft submitted on July 17, 2017 is now being reviewed by the President. [15] Once the BBL is passed, it will set a precedence for federalism as pushed by the administration.

Relevant agreements

The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro

On 15 October 2012, a preliminary peace agreement was signed in the Malacañan Palace between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Government of the Philippines. This was the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which called for the creation of an autonomous political entity named Bangsamoro, replacing the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).[16]

The signing came at the end of peace talks held in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia from 2–6 October. These talks were the last of 32 peace talks between the two parties, which spanned a period of nine years.[16]

Annexes and Addendum

The Framework Agreement was later fleshed out[17] by four Annexes and an addendum:

  • The Annex on Transitional Modalities and Arrangements - established the transitional process for the establishment of the Bangsamoro, and detailed the creation of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, and the Bangsamoro Basic Law. This Annex was signed on Feb. 27, 2013.
  • The Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing - enumerated the sources of wealth creation and financial assistance for the new Bangsamoro entity. This Annex was signed on July 13, 2013.
  • The Annex on Power Sharing - discussed intergovernmental relations of the central government, the Bangsamoro government and the local government units under the Bangsamoro. This Annex was signed on Dec. 8, 2013.
  • The Annex on Normalization - paved the way for the laying down of weapons of MILF members and their transition to civilian life. Normalization is the process through which the communities affected by the conflict in Mindanao can return to peaceful life and pursue sustainable livelihood. This Annex was signed on Jan. 25, 2014.
  • The Addendum on the Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation - Signed on Jan. 25, 2014, this addendum detailed the scope of waters under the territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro (12 nautical miles from the coast), and Zones of Joint Cooperation or bodies of water (Sulu Sea and Moro Gulf) within the territory of the Philippines but not within the Bangsamoro.

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro

On 27 March 2014, a final peace agreement fully fleshing out the terms of the framework agreement and annexes, known as the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) was signed between the two parties.[18] Under the agreement, the Islamic separatists would turn over their firearms to a third party, which would be selected by the rebels and the Philippine government.[18] The MILF had agreed to decommission its armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF). In return, the government would establish an autonomous Bangsamoro.[18] Power sharing was a central point to the autonomy redesign.[18]

The Mamasapano clash and public reaction

On Sunday, January 25, 2015, three platoons of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) under the Philippine National Police entered the guerrilla enclave of Tukanalipao, Mindanao, Philippines, with the goal of detaining two high-ranking Jemaah Islamiyah-affiliated, improvised-explosive-device experts, Zulkifli Abdhir (also known as Marwan) and Abdul Basit Usman. The SAF troops raided the hut where they believed Marwan was located, and the man they believed to be Marwan engaged them in a firefight and was killed. However, the shooting alerted armed forces in the area. What followed was a bloody encounter that left 44 SAF, 18 MILF, and 5 BIFF dead, where the 44 SAF members were trapped with little ammunition between the rogue BIFF and a group of MILF fighters. A video was released afterwards which showed MILF fighters shooting the feet of a SAF member then shooting the head twice while taking the video.[19][20][21]

Supposedly as a result of the negative media coverage arising from the Mamasapano incident, the March 2015 survey conducted by public opinions polling group Pulse Asia found that 44% of Filipinos were opposed to the Bangsamoro Basic Law's passage, with only 22% supporting its passage.[22] Opposition to the law was strongest among the poor (45% in Class D, 43% in Class E) and among those living in Mindanao (62%).[22] Awareness of the law was high, at 88%.[22]

With the collapse in popularity of the bill, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. acknowledged the prospect that the bill may be rejected by Congress in the face of stiff public opposition, and hoped that the government would produce a "Plan B".[23]

Other Issues Concerning BBL

Indigenous Rights

Numerous indigenous groups in the Bangsamoro region do not adhere to Catholicism nor Islam, making them vulnerable to exploitation in a proposed Muslim-controlled regional government. In 2015, various indigenous people groups rejected the formation of the Bangsamoro due to lack of consultation with all stakeholders, especially the non-Muslim indigenous people who form a huge minority in the proposed region.[24]

Christian Concerns

Roman Catholics and numerous Christian groups form a huge minority in the proposed Bangsamoro, notably in Basilan, Cotabato City, Palawan, the Cotabato region, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga provinces, and Lanao del Norte. Various cities and municipalities, notably Isabela City in Basilan and Zamboanga City have rejected their inclusion in the Bangsamoro region.[25]

See also

External links


  1. ^ []
  2. ^ "Panukalang Batas Blg. 4994" (PDF). Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "FAQs about the Bangsamoro Basic Law". GMA News Online. GMA Network. September 10, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2015. 
  4. ^ []
  5. ^ Andreo Calonzo (September 10, 2014). "PNoy personally submits draft Bangsamoro law to Congress leaders". GMA News Online. GMA Network. Retrieved February 16, 2015. 
  6. ^ []
  7. ^ []
  8. ^ []
  9. ^ a b Mendez, Christina (4 August 2015). "Senate sets new timeline for BBL approval". Philstar. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  10. ^ Gita, Ruth Abbey (13 August 2015). "Senate BBL debates to start August 17". Sun.Star. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  11. ^ Nicolas, Fiona. "Senate defers BBL deliberations". CNN Philippines. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  12. ^ []
  13. ^ "No BBL: Next Congress to focus on federalism". Philstar Global. 
  14. ^ Cayabyab, Marc Jayson (July 25, 2016). "Duterte urges 17th Congress to pass BBL". Retrieved August 7, 2017. 
  15. ^ Bacungan, VJ (July 24, 2017). "House to prioritize BBL, federalism on resumption of 17th Congress". CNN CNN Philippines. Retrieved August 7, 2017. 
  16. ^ a b "Govt, MILF agree to create 'Bangsamoro' to replace ARMM | News | GMA News Online | The Go-To Site for Filipinos Everywhere". 2012-10-07. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  17. ^ Sabillo, Kristine Angeli (26 March 2014). "What is the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro?". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  18. ^ a b c d "500 MILF members to attend Bangsamoro accord signing at Palace | Inquirer News". 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 
  19. ^ "Text message sent by Napeñas to AFP 6th Infantry Division commander at 6:18am". ABS-CBN News Channel Twitter. February 9, 2015. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  20. ^ "PNP: Elite cops killed in Maguindanao clashes". Rappler. January 25, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Survey says: opinions on Bangsamoro Basic Law more favorable among those who know it". Business World Online. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  22. ^ a b c Calonzo, Andreo (March 19, 2015). "44% of Pinoys oppose passage of BBL —Pulse Asia". GMA News Online. GMA Network. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  23. ^ Yap, DJ; Salaverria, Leila; Dizon, Nikko (March 20, 2015). "44% vs BBL: Gov't needs Plan B". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  24. ^ []
  25. ^ []