Marcos' substitute bill to make BBL even less than ARMM -- Moro consultant | Inquirer News

Marcos’ substitute bill to make BBL even less than ARMM — Moro consultant

/ 08:04 PM August 12, 2015

COTABATO CITY, Philippines– The Marcos version of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law fails to live up to the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and has removed from Moro-dominated communities the chance to join the envisioned Bangsamoro political entity.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, a member of the Technical Working Group of the MILF peace panel, said the version of Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. merely repeated the mistake of Republic Act 9054, more known as the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) law.

Sinarimbo cited three challenges in the Marcos BBL, which were contained in the report of Senate Committee on Local Governments that Marcos chaired.


Earlier, Mohaqher Iqbal, MILF chief negotiator and chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), which drafted the original draft law, rejected the Marcos version, saying the original draft, which was a result of 17 years of peace negotiation and created by many heads, was “practically erased” by the Marcos version.


He also described the Marcos BBL as even less than RA 9054.

Sinarimbo said the Marcos draft sustained the unacceptable status quo, which the parties to the peace agreement had expressly called unacceptable, this being the first provision of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).

“The status quo is the unitary-highly centralized relation between the Manila government and the Bangsamoro/ARMM and which is sought to be remedied by the power sharing agreement of the parties where the central government will have reserved powers, the Bangsamoro will have exclusive powers and both will share in the concurrent powers,” Sinarimbo told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

He said the Marcos version in Sec 21 Art V, the exclusive powers of the Bangsamoro, is subject to the Constitutional and National Laws. “In reality, there are no exclusive powers for the Bangsamoro as it is still subordinated to national laws; no real power sharing,” he said.

Sinarimbo also said that the Marcos BBL took back the powers and prerogatives already enjoyed by ARMM and therefore, would make the new Bangsamoro entity even less than ARMM.

“An illustration of this is the authority to create free ports and economic zones, which are already granted in the Organic Law of ARMM but the Marcos version made this a reserved power that can only be exercised by the central government,” he said.


Sinarimbo also cited the provision on “Shariah,” that under the ARMM, has been given jurisdiction over person and family relations, commercial transactions and criminal cases (limited). But under the Marcos version, it will only have jurisdiction over person and family relations, which is already contained in the Muslim Personal Law issued under the Marcos dictatorship, according to him.

Sinarimbo believed the Marcos version would not contribute to resolving the Bangsamoro Question — the ultimate end of the peace agreement and the resultant BBL.

He recalled that when the peace talks started in Barangay Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, it had only one agenda: How to resolve the “Bangsamoro Question.”

He said part of the so called Bangsamoro Question was the marginalization of the Bangsamoro and the loss of territory.

Under the CAB, an agreement to resolve the challenges posed by municipalities and barangays that have been Moro dominated and who have already voted yes for inclusion in the ARMM in 2001 was reached.

“The formula is to allow them to be included in a plebiscite and the determination of majority of the votes, for purposes of joining the Bangsamoro is by barangay or by municipality as the case maybe,” Sinarimbo said, adding that it aimed to prevent the repeat of the failure to join in the 2001 plebiscite. Then, there was an erroneous determination of majority by requiring a majority not only in the barangay or municipalities but also at the level of the province or cities, said Sinarimbo.

This is wrong as it would make it impossible for the Moro majority villages in North Cotabato and the municipalities in Lanao del Norte to join the new political entity, according to Sinarimbo.

Sinarimbo said the original draft Bangsamoro law would help Mindanao Moros regain what has been left of their “territory” through a democratic process. This, even as Sinarimbo recalled that they had lost much of their territory through stealth and machinations by the “imperial Manila government” and never by democratic process.

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“The Marcos version has taken out from the (draft) Bangsamoro territory the six municipalities of Lanao del Norte and the 39 villages in North Cotabato,” Sinarimbo said.

TAGS: cab, Legislation, News, peace process, Senate

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