The replacement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) with the Bangsamoro government does not mean that it will become sovereign from the Philippine government, officials said.
The Bangsamoro government is an autonomous political entity intended to replace the Armm. It is the product of the preliminary peace agreement, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, to achieve peace.
The approval of the preliminary peace agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government of the Philippines (GPH) was signed during a peace talk in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia October last year.
Ryan Rosauro, peace partnership outreach coordinator of GIZ-Civilian peace service of Lanap Peace partnership, said: “The Bangsamoro government will be under the wings of the Philippine state.”
He added the citizenship of the people under the territory of the Bangsamoro government would still be Filipinos.
Advocacy officer of Mindanao peoples’ caucus, Candido Aparece, added the Bangsamoro law would still be subjected to the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
However, he said, the proponents of the Bangsamoro law can propose a bill to revise parts of the Philippine Constitution.
“If the proponents of the Bangsamoro law can spot a defect in the Philippine constitution, it can propose a revision to congress,” said Aparece.
Aparece said the Bangsamoro government would establish its own police force. However, this police force will coordinate with the Philippine National Police at the national level.
Rosauro said during the GIZ-CPS Lanao Peace Partnership Training on Reporting on the Bangsamoro Transition that there should be one Philippine National Police (PNP).
PNP Director General Alan Purisma said in a news article in Philippine Star: “There should be only one PNP. Those who want to become policemen should pass the Napolcom requirements to further promote professionalism in the police force.”
Purisima said his point about having one police force when the PNP was consulted during the ongoing peace negotiations between the MILF and GPH.
Rosauro said there is an independent coalition with international personalities that will study and propose a system and structure to connect the Bangsamoro police with the PNP.
“Countries like Japan and Australia are our model societies in terms of policing,” said Rosauro.
He added the policing structure of the Bangsamoro government is still under consultation with experts.
Aparece added that although it is not a separate state, it is still strong because it is a regional government, which has greater power in comparison with the present Armm.
‘Distinct from Armm’
Aparece told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that the Bangsamoro government has more genuine political and economic autonomy than the Armm because it has a fiscal autonomy.
“It has a clear power on the sharing of revenues and resources between the Bangsamoro government and the GPH,” said Aparece.
In terms of oil and gas, Aparece said the sharing between the GPH and Bangsamoro government would be 50/50.
“That sharing is still under review and could be increased in favor of the Bangsamoro government,” he said.
Aparece said these sharing of resources and revenues cannot be found in the Armm.
“It has more political autonomy because some political powers of the GPH will be transferred to the Bangsamoro government,” said Aparece.
For instance, he said the control of basic social services like education, health, public works and agriculture will be managed by the Bangsamoro government.
However, the national defense, foreign affairs and citizenship will be handled by the GPH.
“During the transition period, the power of the Bangsamoro government over education, among others, will still be shared with the GPH to aid them in governing these agencies,” he said.
He said it is possible that the Bangsamoro government might not manage it fully.
Aparece said the Armm before is just an administrative layer. However, the Bangsamoro government has genuine autonomy because it is a strong regional government.
“The around P13-billion budget of the Armm from the GPH will be granted to the Bangsamoro government in addition to the revenues it can generate,” said Aparece.
He said the Bangsamoro government would be a ministerial government because the people under it will be voting for political parties instead of individuals.
At present, series of consultations will be conducted in areas under the Bangsamoro government to come up with the Bangsamoro law.
The Bangsamoro law will be crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, a special presidential commission under the GPH.