What Is the Bangsamoro Organic Law
As an organic law, the Basic Law abolished the autonomous region of Muslim Mindanao and established the basic governance structure of Bangsamoro, in accordance with the terms of the Bangsamoro Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2014 between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.  The bill was presented to Congress leaders by President Benigno Aquino III on September 10, 2014.  An ad hoc committee mandated by the House of Representatives to draft the bill passed its version of the bill, House Bill No. 5811, on May 20, 2015.   The signing took place at the end of peace talks held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from October 2 to 6. The talks were the last of 32 peace talks between the two sides over a nine-year period.  Since 2010, negotiated solutions to intra-state armed conflicts have diminished, with a shift to military means. [v] The completion of the RTA in 2014 and its evolution in internal implementation with the adoption of the BOL are positive indications in the area of conflict resolution. Nevertheless, the peace process in Bangsamoro highlights the challenges of peace negotiations within the framework of an existing constitution and in the shadow of a supreme court. It also stresses the importance of ensuring constitutional legitimacy throughout the process. If the BOL is not fully implemented through the necessary constitutional procedures, as in 2008 with the collapse of the peace process, the possibility of renewed violence remains.
In the hotly contested area of the city of Cotabato, the campaign for or against ratification was widely seen as a political competition between rival clans. As with all elective exercises, clandominance or integrated competition can greatly affect the results. Powerful clans and families secured the Yes vote in most places. The Catholic Church and civil society groups working together – Muslims, Christians and indigenous peoples – have been credited with the success of the BOL in the town of Cotabato. [i] For a chronology of peace agreements in the context of the Mindanao conflict, see C. Bell and V. Utley (2015) “Chronology of Mindanao Peace Agreements”, Political Settlements Research Programme Briefing Paper 02. Available at: The deadly attacks just days after the historic vote showed that peacebuilding in the region is controversial.
BOL`s expectations among the local population are high, which means a great responsibility for the new political leadership to show results as soon as possible. About 76% of Filipino Muslims believe that a MILF-led government is capable of governing BARMM. Imelda Deinla is a Research Fellow in the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University. She travelled to Mindanao before and during the January 21 referendum to produce a short documentary on the ratification of the BOL with the Institute of Peace and Development Studies of Mindanao State University in Marawi City. Both bills were to be passed before President Duterte`s third State of the Union Address (SONA), with the Senate ratifying the Conference Committee`s bicameral report on the morning of July 23, 2018, but the House under President Pantaleon Alvarez did not ratify the Conference Committee`s bicameral report until SONA. While the palace was appalled by the late ratification of the report by the House of Representatives, Alvarez was ousted from the president`s seat and replaced by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.   As promised by Arroyo after taking the president`s seat, the report was ratified on July 24, 2018, paving the way for the transmission of bills from the House and Senate to the president. However, expectations must be mitigated. An abrupt failure of promises could only exacerbate the prevailing discontent with poverty, poor governance and fragile local security. While many people in Marawi City “survived” the pain of losing property and lives during the 2017 siege, they could not wait long for severely delayed rehabilitation. Read the full article on UN Women`s regional website for Asia and the Pacific The first phase of the referendum dates back to the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which was finally passed by the Philippine Congress in July last year after a four-year delay. This cemented a fundamental law that emerged from the Comprehensive Agreement in the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine government in 2014.
Allegedly due to negative media coverage of the Mamasapano incident, the March 2015 poll conducted by polling group Pulse Asia found that 44 percent of Filipinos opposed the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, with only 22 percent supporting its passage.  Opposition to the law was strongest among the poor (45% in class D, 43% in class E) and among people living in Mindanao (62%).  Knowledge of the law was high at 88%.  Many indigenous groups in the Bangsamoro area do not adhere to Catholicism or Islam, making them vulnerable to exploitation in a Muslim-proposed regional government. In 2015, various indigenous peoples opposed the formation of the Bangsamoro due to a lack of consultation with all stakeholders, particularly non-Muslim indigenous peoples who form a large minority in the proposed region.  The question of constitutionality ran through the entire peace process. The shadow of a 2008 Supreme Court decision hung over the EAC negotiations. [ii] The decision concerned the constitutionality of an earlier peace agreement, the Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD).
The memorandum of understanding was initialled but not signed when the court annulled it on several grounds of unconstitutionality and illegality. The Court found that the constitutional amendment necessary to implement the agreement violated procedural rules constituting a “serious abuse of power” by the government. The Court also concluded that the extension of the powers of the autonomous territory to the extent proposed in the MOA-AD had conferred too much authority on the Centre. In addition, the court rejected the proposed “association” between the autonomous region and the national government, suggesting that it “runs counter to the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic.” But the deadly attacks in Jolo and Zamboanga City just days after the January referendum showed once again that peacebuilding in Mindanao is controversial and vulnerable. Sulu Province and Isabela City rejected the BOL, while Cotabato City held a fierce competition that was eventually won in favor of the Yes vote. The various parts of the BBL, as proposed by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which was tasked with drafting the law, include sections covering (but not limited to) the Bangsamoro identity, the Bangsamoro territory, the Bangsamoro government, the Bangsamoro judicial system, the Bangsamoro fundamental rights, the Bangsamoro economic, financial and fiscal framework, and provisions on the transition to the proposed autonomous Bangsamoro. Region.  A two-part plebiscite was held on January 21 (for the ARMM zones) and February 6 (for Cotabato and the 6 municipalities of Lanao del Norte, including the areas that applied to join the region), creating Bangsamoro and officially abolishing the autonomous region of Muslim Mindanao.