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Philippines: Mindanao mayors back Bangsamoro Basic Law
an article by Czarina Nicole Ong, Tempo

Video: Philippines: Bangasamoro draft law

The municipal mayors of Mindanao yesterday pledged all-out support for the Bangsamoro to turn the resource-rich island into a “land of peace and opportunity, where there are no more conflict, hunger and suffering.”

Bangsamoro supporters gather in Mendiola as a show of support for the submission of the draft law to Malacañang. Photo by Rappler

click on photo to enlarge

The idealistic vision was written in a four-page declaration and completed at the end of the three-day Mindanao Cluster Island Conference organized by the League of Municipalities Philippines (LMP).

The mayor participants vowed to do away with “ethnic pride and prejudice” in the pursuit of lasting peace, and hoped to be united with what they described as “our common aspiration.”

Once the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is pending passage in Congress, is enacted and approved in a plebiscite, the new entity would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which was created in the nineties following a government peace treaty with the Moro National Liberation Front (MILF).

During the conference, the town mayors also endorsed the Mindanao Development Corridors Program, the cornerstone of the Mindanao Peace and Development Framework Plan of “Min-danao 2020.”

Top league officials, led by LMP national president Leonardo “Sandy” Javier, described it as a “key strategy that would build infrastructure and spur the development of growth clusters to achieve balanced and inclusive growth.”

This program, which has long been coveted by local government units (LGUs), plans to interconnect regions of Mindanao, achieve a free flow of goods and produce and raise regional agri-aqua production – the staple of its economy – into viable commercial ventures across borders, said LMP Mindanao Vice President Mayor Diosdado Pallasigue.

They also passed a corollary resolution positioning Mindanao as a “single, integrated economy” that could fully participate in the BIMP-EAGA, ASEAN Economic community and the European Union.

LMP Secretary-General Mayor Abraham “Jess” Burahan, said other resolutions approved in plenary included proposals to give special powers to President Aquino to enable him to tap additional power capacity and head off a looming power crisis in 2015.

This would also introduce a cost-sharing program with the national government to establish a Municipal Heavy Equipment Pool, boosting capacity to build and maintain infrastructure, which is key to the sustained growth of the agri-aqua sector. Moreover, they proposed to amend the Local Government Code to increase the shares of LGUs from the national taxes to fully realize genuine local fiscal autonomy, institute Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process in the national budget to empower LGUs in implementing anti-poverty and development-oriented projects.


Question(s) related to this article:

What is the latest update on the peace situation in Mindanao?,

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The agreement of October 15 2012 has given rise to optimism, but many problems remain.  For a typical analysis see that of The Economist.

The Philippines' Southern Insurgency

It could be peace

Hopes grow for an end to a bloody and long-running insurgency

AFTER 16 years of on-and-off negotiations, the Philippines government and the main Muslim rebel group in the southern region of Mindanao, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, agreed to the outlines of a peace deal on October 6th. The two sides are due to sign it formally on October 15th. If it works, which is far from guaranteed, it could bring an end to more than four decades of fighting by armed Muslims seeking independence from the mainly Christian archipelago nation. The Mindanao conflict has killed perhaps 120,000 people and displaced 2m more. Mindanao is home to most of the country’s Muslims, who make up about 5% of the population of about 100m.

The agreement is not a final peace deal, but rather what President Benigno Aquino describes as “a framework agreement” and the front calls a “road map”. Yet both sides believe that it paves the way for what Mr Aquino hopes will prove “a final, enduring peace” in Mindanao.

The peace plan envisages the establishment of an autonomous Muslim area in Mindanao, called Bangsamoro, subject to a plebiscite there. The proposed Bangsamoro will have budgetary autonomy and a just share of revenues from the extraction of southern resources; its own police force; and sharia law for Muslims only. . ...more.

This report was posted on November 5, 2014.