Gov’t: Creation of Bangsamoro to uphold consent of the governed PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 22 February 2014 12:57

Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer on Tuesday reiterated that the people will decide if they wish to be part of the Bangsamoro.

“The proposed areas to be part of the core territory of the Bangsamoro will pass through a plebiscite where registered voters would indicate whether they want to join the Bangsamoro autonomous political entity or not,” said Coronel-Ferrer during a forum with officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in their office in Ortigas, Pasig last week.

Parallel to this, GPH peace panel member Senen Bacani said that “it’s the people’s will that will prevail.”

Once the Bangsamoro Basic Law is enacted by Congress, it will undergo a plebiscite in the proposed Bangsamoro core territory which includes: the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) provinces and Marawi City; the cities of Cotabato and Isabela; the six municipalities in Lanao del Norte that voted for inclusion in the ARMM in the 2001 plebiscite (Baloi, Munai, Pantar, Nunungan, Tagaloan, and Tangkal); and the barangays in the six municipalities of North Cotabato province that likewise voted for inclusion in 2001 (Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit, and Midsayap). Other contiguous areas where there is a resolution for inclusion from the local government unit or a petition of at least 10 percent of the qualified voters may also join the plebiscite.

The GPH panel stressed that the petition alone does not mean an area already becomes part of the Bangsamoro. “An LGU resolution or a plebiscite of at least 10 percent of registered voters does not automatically make an area part of the Bangsamoro,” said Coronel-Ferrer. “They would still need to go through the plebiscite where a majority vote is needed.”

The results of the plebiscite will determine the geographical scope of the Bangsamoro. Still, Coronel- Ferrer clarified that the rest of the country has a say in the process. “The participation of the whole country in establishing the Bangsamoro is in the crafting and passing of the basic law in Congress, which is composed of representatives of the people across the country,” she clarified.

Coronel-Ferrer reiterated that the GPH-MILF peace negotiations are within the parameters and flexibilities of the Constitution and abide by the principles of inclusivity and transparency.

Bacani said that the GPH peace panel has conducted more than 150 consultations with various stakeholders that guided them in reaching the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). The Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which is preparing the draft law, has been also going around the country to consult and inform various sectors on the peace process.