GPH-MILF FORGED FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT

The Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has officially announced last October 07 the forging of the “Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro” during the 32nd Round of Exploratory Talks between their negotiating panels held on October 2-7, 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  It is to be signed tentatively on the 15th of this month and this milestone deal is expected to pave the way for a just and lasting peace in Muslim Mindanao.

As stipulated in the framework agreement, a new autonomous political entity (NPE) that will be called “Bangsamoro” will be established to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The NPE will include the present geographical area of ARMM; Cotabato City and Isabela City; the municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan, and Tangkal in Lanao del Norte Province; and some barangays in the municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigcawayan, Pikit, and Midsayap in the North Cotabato Province.

The Parties agreed for a transition period, the institution of transition mechanisms, and the creation of an independent Transition Commission that will work on the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and coordinate development programs within Bangsamoro communities.

Upon promulgation and ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which provides for the creation of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the ARMM will be automatically abolished.  The BTA will ensure the continued functioning of government is exercised until 2016 when it will be immediately replaced upon the election and assumption of the members of the Bangsamoro Legislative Assembly and the formation of Bangsamoro Government. The relationship of the Central Government to the Bangsamoro Government will be asymmetrical.

However, the road is still long and transition period is an arduous process. As development workers and advocates, UnYPhil-Women welcomes this new stage in the peace process, bearing in mind that the active participation and vigilance of civil society organizations is crucial in ensuring that the basic needs and rights of the civilian population especially women and children are prioritized in the transition process until justice, peace, and development will finally reign in Mindanao.

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