ARMM and The Proposed Bangsamoro Government: A Glimpse on the Bangsamoro Aspiration

The Bangsamoro aspiration is not about religion per se but a struggle to regain their rightful place in the Philippines mainstream society, their usurped traditional landholdings and their legitimate rights to self – determination as embodied in the United Nations Character.

But in Islam, the affairs of the government and practice of religion are inseparable. Unlike, in the western concept of governance that the church and state are separable. The Philippine Constitution provides, that " the separation between the church and state is inviolable “.  As what the late Chairman of MILF, Sheik Salamat Hashim (Allah yarhamo) had said, " Practicing Islam without governmental sanction is a truncated version of faith and therefore , un - Islamic. A government not founded on Islamic principles (Qur'an and Sunnah) is unquestionably un - Islamic.      

Bangsamoro armed struggle is originally a secession movement calling for the independence of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan from the Philippines but when the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) entered into a Final Peace Agreement in 1996 they opted for Autonomy which is now the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). 

The dilemma is when the Organic Act was crafted in congress the MNLF had no participation, resulting in a measure that the MNLF continues to believe as abrogated peace deal which the former President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino II declared as " failed experiment ".     

For its part, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have their Final Peace Agreement through the signing of Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) on March 27, 2014 that led to creation of Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) mandated by the Philippine Government to craft a basic law for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Government. 

Unfortunately, the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) crafted by the BTC created by Pres. Aquino through an executive order failed to pass by congress.

Under the current administration, an expanded BTC composed of 21 Commissioners representing all sectors of the Bangsamoro homeland for purposes of inclusivity and co - ownership of the proposed legislative measure crafted a new version of Bangsamoro Law and submitted to Congress. The said proposed law has been sponsored in the lower house by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, HoR Majority Floor Leader Rudy Fariñas, and other lawmakers. 

The proposition is that the, " ARMM as failed experiment " is attributed to two factors, viz a viz: First, the organic act creating ARMM is an imposed measure and did not reflect the true aspiration of the Bangsamoro people considering that the MNLF has no participation in the crafting of the said law.

Second, good governance. The leaders failed to address the socio - economic problem besetting the marginalized sector. The poverty incidence is so high and remained as one of the poorest regions in the country.

The moment of truth has finally come, i.e. the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in the 17th Congress. The MILF remained firm in their position that the provisions of the BBL crafted by the BTC reflect the Bangsamoros legitimate aspiration for identity, homeland, self - governance and right to self - determination.

Granting without admitting that the draft BBL is diluted by congress, the proposed Bangsamoro Government will again doom to fail. History may repeat itself.