2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro

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MILF Peace Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal, Malaysian Facilitator to the Philippine Government-MILF Talks Dato’ Tengku Abdul Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, and Philippine Government Peace Panel Chair Marvic Leonen sign the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. Witnessing the signing were MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Prime Minister of Malaysia Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, President Benigno S. Aquino III, and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quinots-Deles.

The 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro is a preliminary peace agreement between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the new autonomous political entity, Bangsamoro, replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It was signed on 15 October 2012 in the Malacañang Palace. Present in the signing of the agreement were President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim.

Contents

Joint Philippine Government-MILF Draft

The Philippine Government and the MILF, referred to as Parties of the Agreement, have agreed on and acknowledged the following:


Establishment of the Bangsamoro

Roadmap to the Creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Political Entity

The Bangsamoro will be established to replace ARMM. Its government shall have a ministerial form; its constituent units shall be composed of provinces, cities, municipalities, barangays and geographic areas within its territory.

The relationship between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government shall be asymmetric.

The Parties recognize the Bangsamoro identity. The people who, at the time of the conquest and colonization, were considered natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao, the Sulu Islands and its adjacent islands have the right to identify themselves as Bangsamoro by ascription (status attributed by birth or kinship) or self-ascription. Spouses and their descendants are classified as Bangsamoro. The freedom of choice of other indigenous peoples shall be respected.


Basic Law

The Bangsamoro shall be governed by a Basic Law. Its provisions shall be consistent with all agreement of the Parties. The Basic Law, which will be formulated by the Bangsamoro people and ratified by its qualified voters, shall reflect their system of life and the internationally accepted standards of governance.


Powers

The Central Government will have reserved powers on:

  1. Defense and external security
  2. Foreign policy
  3. Common market and global trade
  4. Coinage and monetary policy
  5. Citizenship and naturalization
  6. Postal service

The Bangsamoro Government shall have exclusive powers, and there will be no concurrent powers shared between the Parties.

The Parties recognize the need to strengthen the Shari'ah courts and to expand their jurisdiction over cases. The Bangsamoro shall have competence over the Shari'ah justice system; its supremacy and application shall apply only to Muslims.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law may provide for the power of the Bangsamoro Government to accredit halal-certifying bodies in the Bangsamoro. It shall also provide for Bangsamoro's justice institutions.

The customary rights and traditions of indigenous peoples shall be taken into consideration in the formation of the Bangsamoro’s justice system.


Revenue generation and wealth sharing

Parties have agreed that wealth generation is important for the operation of the Bangsamoro. The Bangsamoro will have the power to create its own sources of revenues and to levy taxes, fees, and charges, subject to limitations as may be mutually agreed upon by the Parties. It has the prerogative to accept grants and donations from domestic and foreign sources, and block grants and subsidies from the Central Government.

It will also have (1) a just and equitable share in the revenues generated, (2a) the right to create its own auditing body and procedures for accountability over revenues and other funds generated within or by the region from external sources and (2b) an intergovernmental fiscal policy board composed of representatives of the Bangsamoro and the Central Government in order to address revenue imbalances and fluctuations in regional financial needs and revenue-raising capacity.

The Bangsamoro will be the one to develop a comprehensive framework for their own sustainable development.


Territory

Proposed Territory of the Bangsamoro

The core territory of the Bangsamoro will be composed of:

  • The present geographical area of the ARMM
  • The Municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte and all other barangays in the municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit, and Midsayap that voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite
  • The cities of Cotabato and Isabela
  • All other contiguous areas where there is a resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least ten percent (10%) of the qualified voters in the area asking for their inclusion at least two months prior to the conduct of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law
  • The disposition of internal and territorial waters shall be referred to in the Annexes on Wealth and Power Sharing.


The Parties will work together to ensure the widest acceptability of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. It will recognize the collective democratic rights of its constituents.


Basic Rights

The Bangsamoro constituents are guaranteed:

  • Right to life and to inviolability of one’s person and dignity
  • Right to freedom and expression of religion and beliefs
  • Right to privacy
  • Right to freedom of speech
  • Right to express political opinion and democratically pursue political aspiration
  • Right to seek constitutional change by peaceful and legitimate means
  • Right of women to meaningful political participation and protection from all forms of violence
  • Right to freely choose one’s place of residence and the inviolability of the home
  • Right to equal opportunity and non-discrimination in social and economic activity as well as in public service, regardless of class, creed, disability, gender and ethnicity
  • Right to establish cultural and religious associations
  • Right to freedom from religious, ethnic and sectarian harassment
  • Right to redress of grievances and due process of law

The Bangsamoro will recognize and respect vested property rights.

The Central Government will ensure the protection of rights of the Bangsamoro people living outside its territory, and with the help of the Bangsamoro government, the Central Government will create programs for their communities.


Transition and Implementation

The Parties agreed to the need of a transition period and the institution of transitional mechanisms. They have also agreed to adopt and incorporate an Annex on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities. A Transition Commission, through an Executive Order and as supported by Congressional Resolutions, will be created and will have the following functions:

The Transition Commission will be independent from ARMM and other government agencies, but the Philippine Government will allocate funds and resources for its effective operation. The Commission will be composed of:

  • 15 members, all of whom are Bangsamoro
  • Seven members selected by the Philippine Government
  • Eight members, including the Chairman, selected by the MILF

Once the Commission has submitted the Bangsamoro Basic Law draft, it will be certified as an urgent bill by the President. Upon its promulgation and ratification, ARMM will then be deemed abolished.

During the interim period, devolved authorities will be vested in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. The ministerial form and Cabinet system of government shall commence once the Bangsamoro Transition Authority is in place.

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority will be responsible for the continued functioning of government in the area of autonomy until the election and assumption of members of the Bangsamoro government in 2016. A third party monitoring team composed of domestic and international groups will monitor the implementation of agreements.

The Philippine Government, MILF Peace Negotiating Panels, the Malaysian Facilitator and the Third Party Monitoring Team will meet at the end of the transition period to review and assess the implementation of agreements. An 'Exit Document', which will officially terminate the peace negotiation, may be created and signed by the Parties after all agreements have been fully implemented. Negotiations between the Parties will continue after all issues have been resolved.

Normalization

The Parties have agreed that normalization is vital to the peace process. An independent commission, composed of representatives from the Parties and international experts on law enforcement, will be organized to recommend appropriate policing within the Bangsamoro.

All law enforcement functions will be transferred from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to the police force for the Bangsamoro in a phased and gradual manner. The Joint Coordinating Committees on Cessation of Hostilities (JCCCH) as well as the ad hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), with the participation of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), will continue monitoring the ceasefire agreement until all MILF forces have been decommissioned.

Programs to rehabilitate, reconstruct and develop the Bangsamoro will be intensified. A Trust Fund for possible multi-donor country support, assistance and pledges to the normalization process will also be established for transparency and accountability. The Parties will also create a program for transitional justice to address the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people, correct historical injustices, and address human rights violations.

Miscellaneous

The Agreement will not be implemented unilaterally. The Parties will work further on the details of the Framework Agreement and complete a comprehensive one by the end of the year.


References


Citation

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