What is the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro?
Video by RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines – On March 27, the government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will sign the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), supposedly ending the decades-old armed conflict in Mindanao. A thousand people, including almost 500 representatives of the MILF, will attend that historic event at the Malacañang grounds.
For those not familiar with the issue, below are some basic information.
“The sealing of the comprehensive agreement is important not only for the Bangsamoro, the people of Mindanao and all other Filipino citizens who have all to gain as one country pursuing its unfinished task of nation-building.” – Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, GPH Peace Panel chair
What is the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro?
The CAB is a five-page, 12-point text document representing the final peace agreement between the GPH and the MILF.
According to Ferrer, it recognizes “the justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people, their aspiration for meaningful autonomy through a democratic process; the aim of finding a solution to the Bangsamoro question with honor, justice, and dignity; the aim to end the fighting between the government and the MILF and promote peace and stability; the recognition of the responsibilities of the parties to protect and enhance the rights of the Bangsamoro people and all other inhabitants, correct historical injustice, and equitably diffuse wealth and political power.”
The signing of the CAB is the culmination of the 17 years of peace negotiations between the two parties and will pave the way for a Bangsamoro autonomous political entity.
It also reiterates the two parties’ commitment to the following agreements/documents:
– The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) (signed Oct. 12, 2012), which outlines the “political settlement” between the GPH and the MILF and the process of transition from the Autonomous Region on Muslim Mindanao to a new Bangsamoro autonomous political entity
– The Four Annexes and the Addendum to the FAB:
a. Annex on Transitional Modalities and Arrangements (signed Feb. 27, 2013), which establishes the transitional process for the establishment of the Bangsamoro. It details the creation of a transition commission, a Bangsamoro Basic Law, and a Bangsamoro Transition Authority
b. Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing (signed July 13, 2013), which enumerates the sources of wealth creation and financial assistance for the new entity.
c. Annex on Power Sharing (signed Dec. 8, 2013), which discusses intergovernmental relations of the central government, the Bangsamoro government and the local government units under the Bangsamoro
d. Annex on Normalization (signed Jan. 25, 2014), which paves 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.
e. Addendum on the Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation (signed Jan. 25, 2014), which details 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 Ceasefire Agreement of 1997 signed by the GPH and the MILF
– The Agreement on Peace signed in Tripoli in 2001, laying down the agenda for the peace talks
– The Declaration of Continuity of Negotiation signed in June 2010, which picked up the pieces from the failed memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD).
What is the Bangsamoro autonomous political entity?
The Bangsamoro autonomous political entity will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by 2016. It will be presided over by a ministerial form of government. It is not an Islamic state.
However, the scope of its territory will be settled after a plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. According to the signed documents, the “envisioned core territory” includes the current ARMM provinces and Marawi City; the cities of Cotabato and Isabela; the six municipalities of Lanao del Norte (Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal) and villages (under the municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit and Midsayap) that voted for inclusion in the ARMM in 2001.
The ministerial government, which will be in the form of an assembly with an elected chief minister, will have an “asymmetric relationship” with the national government.
The Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is still being drafted, will define the relations of the local government units, the Bangsamoro government and the central government.
The Annex on Power Sharing states that the relationship should be “reflective of the recognition of the Bangsamoro identity and their aspiration for self-governance.”
Civil courts for non-Muslims will be maintained while Sharia courts for Muslims will be established. A judicial process for indigenous rights will also be allotted for.
The Bangsamoro government will have taxing powers similar to that of the ARMM. It will collect funds from fees and charges, grants and donations, loans and other sources of revenues. Of the national taxes, fees and charges collected by the central or national government within the territory, 75 percent will go to the Bangsamoro government. In the long-run, the Bangsamoro should be less dependent on the national government.
To learn more about the FAB, as well as the history of the conflict in Mindanao and the peace talks, check out the attached primers from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process and Inquirer related stories.
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