The Framework Agreement calls for the creation of an autonomous political entity named Bangsamoro. The full text of the agreement is shown below:
Open Briefing analysis
The recently signed preliminary peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Muslim separatist group the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is a welcome development for the Southern Philippines, which has been ensnared in a violent conflict that has claimed more than 120,000 lives over the last 40 years.
Already some commentators are suggesting that the Framework Agreement is a model for that could be adopted by other Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand and Burma, who have ongoing security challenges associated with ethnic Muslim insurgencies and separatist movements.
The domestic business community and regional neighbours are heralding the agreement as an opportunity for economic development and investment in the region’s rich natural resources and agricultural potential. Addressing insecurity and encouraging investment is perceived as an antidote to the endemic poverty in the region.
The Framework Agreement is more than a simple ceasefire and disarmament agreement. The agreement spans a broad spectrum of judicial, government, security and financial management issues, and includes specific measures outlining the necessary institutional and governance structures required for the new autonomous region of Bangsamoro.
Without detracting from the positive expressions for peace, graduated disarmament, disbandment of private armies and the normalisation of human security, the agreement is very much a road map that has avoided addressing the most contentious sticking points. To a degree, creating a transition process spread out over a number of years to establish key institutions, deliver security and reconcile deep seated opposition and confrontation makes sense for two key reasons.
Firstly, the creation of the appearance of peace and security will help Manila attract foreign investment into Mindanao for increased agricultural production, infrastructure development and extractive industries exploration and production. Confronting the core bones of contention in an environment of entrenched poverty and factional conflict with no economic leverage or incentive may end the peace process before it even gets started. Breaking from the existing regional economic stagnation may, instead, provide President Benigno Aquino III’s administration with some leverage with which to encourage a new autonomous government to actively manage potential political instability.
Secondly, Aquino's broader peace strategy of converging multiple objectivities to stabilise Mindanao had to balance a variety of competing interests. Intra-insurgency factionalism, local clan competition and provincial rivalry made Aquino's convergence strategy ambitious and challenging.
The result is that the Framework Agreement defers many of the most contentious elements of securing a new governance framework for Mindanao and rightly hands determination of inclusion in Bangsamoro to local plebiscite. This approach is a product of earlier peace agreement negotiations, such as the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front, which were overturned by courts, derailed or left unfulfilled. Reports suggest that both the MILF negotiators and the Aquino administration were mindful of the past failures.
A central issue still to be resolved is the extent to which a central Mindanao authority will reduce the administrative authority of the provincial governors of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi or disrupt existing relations between Manila and the archipelagic provinces. In relation to this, the Framework Agreement states:
"The privileges already enjoyed by the local government units under existing laws shall not be diminished unless otherwise altered, modified or reformed for good governance."
At present these governors, and their provincial government patronage networks, have not been affected by the existing Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which has had limited political and fiscal influence over local government units. The Framework Agreement essentially bets both ways: it assuages concerns of a centralised regional authority taking greater administrative control of federal transfers, while at the same time allowing existing laws and privileges to be varied in the name of “good governance.” At some point, this will need to be addressed and if provincial interests start to harmonise with competition between insurgent groups there is a potential risk of the peace process being derailed.
Equally challenging will be the issues of civilian policing and any transition of MILF members into a local police force. The jurisdiction of Sharia courts may also be problematic, as it may be difficult for Aquino's administration to intervene in judicial processes that are questioning or assessing the limits of Sharia jurisdiction and precedent. There is no guarantee the Philippine judicial system will refrain from such questioning or challenging the precedent and authority of these courts.
Above all, the imperatives of incremental transition and change may be problematic considering the importance of Aquino’s personal political commitment to a peace process and the reality of political term expiring in 2016. There is always the risk that if a transition period of establishing the institutional and political foundations for Bangsamoro is not completed within Aquino’s term a new administration may not follow through with the process.
Importantly, these limitations seem to be recognised by both parties: with the Philippines government and MILF representatives emphasising the Framework Agreement is a first step and a roadmap. This measured optimism, underscored by the caution publicly expressed by Aquino, reflects the need to temper expectations and acknowledges particular forces that could easily unravel the plans for peace.
Despite the increasing contradiction, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro should be pushed through because it is consultative and inclusive in nature in the sense that all stakeholders involved are considered, it has reasonable assurance of greater acceptability among the affected constituents, and most of all. it empowers the Moro People in Southern Philippines to the right to self-determination and self-governance through giving them the chance to the pursuit of lasting peace which ultimately leads to economic, social and political development...
Here are my arguments on the pro side..
I)Inclusivity among Stakeholders
With regards to the territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro, there would be no automatic inclusion to the Bangsamoro; the initiative of to be included would still be coming from the People themselves, as manifested by the need of a resolution from the LGU or a petition of at least 10% of the voting population. In addition to this, the possible inclusion of other adjacent area so long as there is a petition of at least ten percent (10%) of the residents makes the argument of inclusivity of stakeholders even stronger. But ultimately, a plebiscite will decide the final inclusion of an area to the Bangsamoro territory, thereby ensuring democracy. The fact that inclusion of a municipality, province or city would be rooted directly from the people would ENTAIL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
TRANSITION AND IMPLEMENTATION
3. There shall be created a Transition Commission through an Executive Order and supported by Congressional Resolutions
4. The functions of the Transition Commission are as follows:
c. To coordinate whenever necessary development programs in Bangsamoro communities in conjunction with the MILF Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) and other agencies.
5. The Transition Commission shall be composed of fifteen (15) members all of whom are Bangsamoro. Seven (7) members shall be selected by the GPH and eight (8) members, including the Chairman, shall be selected by the MILF.
(Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, 2012 p.7)
In developing the most powerful argument in favor for the realization of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement, this particular section taken from the Joint GPH-MILF Draft itself highlights the fact that the agreement is not yet finished and through its comprehensive process of completion, all stakeholders will be consulted. The parties who will have contributed to the agreement will not be only the original parties which are the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro-Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would further be increase. The provision establishing the Transition Commission created a chance for all other stakeholders to be included in the discussion thereby making them involved in the agreement. In fact, the function of the Transition Commission to coordinate with various organizations among others like the BDA and the BLMI enable the perfected agreement to be consultative and inclusive. Furthermore, the composition of the Transition Commission ensures that people included would be well-representatives of the greater number of the Bangsamoro.
I. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BANGSAMORO
5. The Parties recognize Bangsamoro identity. Those who at the time of conquest and colonization were considered native or original inhabitants of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago and its adjacent islands including Palawan, and their descendants whether of mixed or of full blood shall have the right to identify themselves as Bangsamoro by ascription or self-ascription.
Spouses and their descendants are classified as Bangsamoro. The freedom of choice of other Indigenous peoples shall be respected.
The ultimate decision resides to the constituents, the Bangsamoro themselves, thereby assuring the concept of inclusivity by choice of all stakeholders. The provision regarding the process of being identified as Bangsamoro (natural identity as distinguished to the political entity) which is through ascription (by operations of law) or self-ascription (extrajudicial; personal choice) created an avenue for an autonomous choice by the People to identify himself/herself as Bangsamoro. Clearly, these excerpts taken from the Joint GPH-MILF Draft proves that the ultimate decision resides to the constituents, the Bangsamoro themselves, thereby assuring the concept of inclusivity by choice of all stakeholders. The provision regarding the process of being identified as Bangsamoro (natural identity as distinguished to the political entity) which is through ascription (by operations of law) or self-ascription (extrajudicial; personal choice) created an avenue for an autonomous choice by the People to identify himself/herself as Bangsamoro.(Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, 2012 p.2)
1. The core territory of the Bangsamoro shall be composed of:
(d) all other contiguous areas where there is a resolution of the the local government unit or a petition of at least ten percent(10%) of the qualified voters in the area asking for their inclusion at least two months prior to the conduct of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law…
3. Areas which are contiguous and outside the core territory where there are substantial populations of the Bangsamoro may opt anytime to be part of the territory upon petition of atleast ten percent (10%) of the residents and approved by a majority of qualified voters in a plebiscite.(Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, 2012 p.5)
With regards to the territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro, there would be no automatic inclusion to the Bangsamoro; the initiative of to be included would still be coming from the People themselves, as manifested by the need of a resolution from the LGU or a petition of at least 10% of the voting population. In addition to this, the possible inclusion of other adjacent area so long as there is a petition of at least ten percent (10%) of the residents makes the argument of inclusivity of stakeholders even stronger. But ultimately, a plebiscite will decide the final inclusion of an area to the Bangsamoro territory, thereby ensuring democracy
The fact that all possible stakeholders are included in the creation process would foster economic growth by ensuring that their interest are upheld because through the process of creating the agreement, there is an avenue for their claims to be accommodated as they bring they claims on the table. Considering that they are also economic players, the parties would naturally levy their claims, and given that, surely their economic interests will be considered thereby enabling the invisible hand to work..
III) B. Reasonable Assurance of Greater Acceptability among Constituents
VI) BASIC RIGHTS
1. In addition to Basic rights already enjoyed, the following rights of all citizens residing in the Bangsamoro bind the legislature, executive and judiciary as directly enforceable law and are guaranteed:
(Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, 2012 p.6)
Perhaps the most important lines with regards to rights of the Bangsamoro would be the first seven words, “In addition to Basic rights already enjoyed,”. This means that in no way are the Bangsamoro people deprived of their current rights to life, liberty and property, etc. Given this fact, it is safe to conclude that the Framework Agreement would be reasonably acceptable for the People in the very least with regards to Basic Rights. In furtherance of our argument with the FAB’s agreement, this material would be very useful in explaining that one of the primary reasons for the warm acceptance of the people would be because their Basic Rights are not only sustained, but in fact updated to be more responsive and comprehensive.
1. The Parties agree that normalization is vital to the peace process. It is through normalization that communities can return to conditions where they can achieve their desired quality of life which includes the pursuit of sustainable livelihoods and political participation within a peaceful deliberative society.
2. The aim of normalization is to ensure human security in the Bangsamoro. Normalization helps build a society that is committed to basic human rights, where individuals are free from fear of violence or crime and where long-held traditions and value continue to be honored.
5. The MILF shall undertake a graduated program for decommissioning of its forces so that they put beyond use.
10. The Parties agree to intensify development efforts for rehabilitation, reconstruction and development of the Bangsamoro, and institute programs to address the need of MILF combatants, internally displaced persons, and poverty-stricken communities
12. The Parties agree to work out a program for transitional justice to address the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people, correct historical injustices and address human rights violations.
(Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, 2012 p.8-10)
Since the back story of the Framework Agreement really is the search for peace, the defining factor that would make the stakeholders accept this is because, at last here comes a concrete action to achieve that goal. Pointing the idea from this material would bolster out argument about the FAB’s acceptability. As stated, normalization is the process to stabilizing the situation into one that is conducive and facilitative of peace, progress and development. It’s important to emphasize the stipulation of laying-off of arms by the MILF which clearly is likeable to one and all. Moreover, parts of normalization are efforts to intensify development to address the need of the greater number of people and the consideration of the cry for justice of the Bangsamoro. This, among others, as interpreted in this material would contribute to the strength of our argument.
Statements of Judgments
Upon the rise of the issue of the FAB was raised, people from different walks of life namely political and religious leaders, the Moro People- constituents, and the Government of Republic of Philippines, would definitely ensure an ECONOMIC BOOM since at the first instance they were already POSITIVE of the CHANGE... The moment these key persons express their affirmation for the FAB give assurance that it is indeed a great chance for the furthurance of the ECONOMIC AGENDAS necessary for the improvement of the Economic Situation.
Indeed, people that are basically economic players are given a golden chance to make Economic Agendas to be considered. Surely, the implementation of the FAB will create a definite oppurtunity for peace, wherein once and for all lasting peace would be given a clear plausible chance, it will lead the way to the promotion of ECONOMIC GROWTH in terms of INVESTMENTS that will be Rushing in, Increased COnfidence on the the Business Situation and Stabilization of Economic Market COnditions.
Once and for all, an answer to the problems existing will be given... An answer that will finally create a remarkable stamp on the lifelong search of the MORO PEOPLE on peace... AND I personally believe that peace entails ECONOMIC GROWTH!