Pimentel defends law on Bangsamoro region | Inquirer News

Pimentel defends law on Bangsamoro region

/ 05:38 AM December 20, 2018

Aquilino Pimentel III

Even if it is not called Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) fits into what is provided for in the Constitution, according to Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III.

Pimentel on Wednesday defended the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) against the challenge filed in the Supreme Court on Dec. 11 by the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), which said the ARMM and the Cordillera Administrative Region were the only autonomous regions recognized by the Constitution.




Philconsa contended that the BARMM was created by Congress in violation of the Constitution.

Pimentel, a lawyer and Mindanao native, said the Constitution used the term ARMM “to refer to a concept.”

“Precisely, the Bangsamoro is the autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao. Why are we so focused on the name ARMM? The concept involved here is that there could be an autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao if the people want it,” he said in a text message.

“What this autonomous region is called should not be that important,” he added.

The BOL would establish the BARMM, which would replace the ARMM.

Expanded region


Under the organic law, all ARMM areas would be part of the BARMM, while Cotabato City, Isabela City, the towns of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pikit and Pigkawayan in  Lanao del Norte, and 39 villages in North Cotabato may vote to become part of the new Muslim autonomous region.

Congress passed the law to complete a peace agreement signed in 2014 by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

According to Philconsa, the only way to create a new and distinct autonomous region was to amend the Constitution or abolish the ARMM.

It claimed Congress had no authority to create other autonomous regions.

The group asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the administration from implementing the BOL.

A plebiscite to ratify the measure is scheduled for Jan. 21 and Feb. 6 next year.

Residents of the ARMM, Isabela City in Basilan and Cotabato City will vote on Jan. 21.

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People in the six Lanao del Norte towns and the 39 North Cotabato villages will vote on Feb. 6.


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