Understanding the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement-A A +A
Sunday, October 28, 2012
THE newly proposed creation of a Bangsamoro nation-state within the Mindanao territory was met with enthusiasm by the Muslim inhabitants of the ARMM and the international community. However it has been met with mixed reception by the common tao and has been outright scorned by the MNLF.
Most people are happy that the seeds of peace have finally been planted in Mindanao by the signing of this historic framework deal. Others feel it is merely a ruse by the MILF to acquire money from the government-sponsored transitional government so that they may rebuild their forces and continue the fight against the “occupiers” from the north. Further still, others point out that the framework agreement does not take everyone’s interests into account, case in point, the MNLF.
While the MILF was invited to play a key role in the preparation of the Bangsamoro state, presently the MNLF has absolutely no role in the process whatsoever, and unless an MNLF member is selected to be part of the transitional council, then they have no say in these talks. Nur Misuari is calling the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement an “act of betrayal” by the Philippine government and says that the signing of the agreement is a “death sentence” since it does not grant the Bangsamoro nation-state what they desired in the first place – full autonomy.
Basically, the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement can be seen as an amendment to Republic Act 6734, the act which created the ARMM. The present draft gives vague statements about the nature of the governance of the new proposed nation-state, its laws, and how its coexistence with the Central Government of the Philippines.
There were 10 decision points made during the agreement, but the major, tangible differences between the ARMM and the proposed Bangsamoro State can be summarized as follows:
1. The Bangsamoro nation state will have a ministerial form of government instead of the present form, which consists of executive powers from the governor and legislative powers from the regional assembly.
2. The jurisdiction of Islamic Shariah law will be expanded over much of the new political entity. This may pose a problem as certain aspects of the medieval Shariah law may be in conflict with the Philippine Constitution. The Shariah provision for murder, for example, states that a victim may either choose to forgive the killer, or have him or her punished with the same death as the original murder victim, if it was intentionally committed. The Philippines abolished the death penalty in 2006.
3. Regions in Mindanao that wish to join the new Bangsamoro state may cast their votes to do so. If at least 10% of the qualified voters in that area voted for inclusion, then their home region will be assimilated into Bangsamoro territory.
4. Law enforcement shall be handled exclusively by a Bangsamoro police force. AFP troops will no longer have law enforcement powers in that area but will be there solely to defend the territory against external threats.
Keep in mind that, as of this writing, the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement is still in draft form, and must be approved by congress before any action can be made.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 28, 2012.