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Analysis and Position of Makabayan

on the Proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law

18 May 2015

The Makabayan bloc recognizes the courageous struggle of the Moro people for the right to
national self-determination. This struggle is rooted in the centuries-long and ongoing oppression
and exploitation of the Filipino people including the Bangsamoro and other indigenous peoples
by the colonial and neocolonial powers and the local ruling elite. This struggle forms an
important part of the Filipino peoples struggle against foreign and local ruling class domination
and enslavement towards genuine independence and democracy.
The Bangsamoro must attain and exercise their right to self-determination. The socio-economic
roots of war must be addressed, and widespread poverty and injustice eradicated. Otherwise, the
armed struggle of the Moro people will continue and grow stronger even if the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front places its weapons beyond use.
In our analysis of the text and more importantly, in consideration of the prevailing
societal context, the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law falls far short of and does not
adequately address the aspirations of the Bangsamoro and indigenous peoples struggle
because: 1) the BBL grants not full but only limited autonomy; 2) genuine autonomy can
never be possible under a neo-colonial, semi-feudal and corrupt state and ruling system;
and 3) the BBL does not address the social and economic roots of poverty and injustice.
The prevailing political context has worsened in the aftermath of Mamasapano. Through
Congress, the Aquino administration is taking back the proposed additional powers
granted to the Bangsamoro in the BBL and other concessions negotiated by the MILF.
The interest shown by the US, Japan, and the European Union in the peace talks with
the MILF and the BBL is likewise extremely alarming. The US took an active role in the
drafting of the Government of the Philippines - MILF Memorandum of Agreement on
Ancestral Domain which was eventually junked by the GPH . We must vigorously
oppose the agenda of the imperialists to establish military bases, ruthlessly exploit the
mineral and agricultural wealth and cheap labor of the Bangsamoro and Mindanao.

The Proposed BBL grants, not full, but limited autonomy

Full and genuine autonomy is a possible form of restoring to the Bangsamoro their right to selfdetermination and rectifying the historic and continuing injustice against the Bangsamoro. Full
autonomy entails the recognition, at the very least, of their right, capacity and authority to rule
over all aspects of political, economic, and cultural life in their region, apart from the four
reserved powers of the central government foreign affairs, external defense and security,
border control and immigration, and common currency. However, this is not the kind of
autonomy that the Bangsamoro will get through the proposed BBL.

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Compare Republic Act 9054 (the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao law) with the BBL.
In ARMM, the regional assembly is given the power to enact laws on all matters except for those
pertaining to the 14 reserved powers of the national government. In the BBL, 9 of these powers
have been retained by the national government while the remaining 5 fall under so-called
concurrent powers of the national government and the Bangsamoro Government. The long
enumeration in the BBL of 59 exclusive powers of the Bangsamoro government/parliament are,
in fact, powers that have likewise been granted to the ARMM in as much as these do not fall
within the reserved powers of the national government.
Anti-people laws and policies of the GPH will prevail over and delimit the laws that may be
enacted and enforced by the Bangsamoro parliament. Deleterious laws such as the 1995 Mining
Act, laws on foreign investment, agreements such as the GATT/WTO, laws on land ownership,
Oil Deregulation Law, Electric Power Industry Reform Act, and many other exploitative and
oppressive GPH laws shall remain in force and dominate in the Bangsamoro. BBL does not
invalidate these laws, nor does the Bangsamoro assembly have the power to invalidate, amend,
or choose not to implement them.
With respect to the 14 concurrent powers, the national government or GPH shall continue to
prevail and dominate by virtue of the phrase without prejudice to the power and authority of
constitutional bodies such as the Commissions on Civil Service, Audit, Elections, Human Rights,
the Office of the Ombudsman, and others.

Not genuine autonomy; dominated by neo-colonial, dynastic, and corrupt politics

The Moro people will not, in reality, enjoy their right to self-determination and genuine
autonomy even if the BBL is enacted into law. Beyond the text of the BBL, the political and
socio-economic context in which the Bangsamoro entity will operate should be considered. The
whole area of the Bangsamoro is not insulated from and in fact will continue to be dominated by
the neo-colonial, dynastic, and corrupt state and politics of the big comprador capitalists and
landlords that rule the whole country.
The fate that befell the ARMM is clear for all to see from the hands of Nur Misuari the reins
of government fell to the Ampatuans. With the support of Pres. Fidel Ramos and the full
resources of the state behind him, Nur Misuari was installed as the governor of ARMM. Before
long, landlords and warlords gained control of ARMM, the moment Misuari lost the support of
Malacaang. The Arroyo administration had to distance itself from the Ampatuans because of
the public outrage over the brutal massacre of journalists.
It remains to be seen whether the BBL will gain approval in a plebiscite in all the areas it seeks to
cover and whether the MILF can win in elections against contending dynastic landlords and
warlords. Furthermore, the armed rebel groups opposed to the BBL, such as Misuaris MNLF
and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters are still in the picture. Electoral successes for the
BBL and the MILF are possible, given the backing and support of the US and Malacaang. But
can autonomy propped up by US and the GPH Presidents patronage still be considered
genuine? Likewise, it remains to be seen, whether, and for how long, the MILF can maintain its
grip on the Bangsamoro government.

The BBL does not even attempt to dismantle the socio-economic roots of the Moro

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The BBL makes no effort to identify and dismantle the socio-economic roots of the Moro
rebellion. Essentially, the BBL is an agreement on the terms of power-sharing and division of
wealth between the GPH and the Bangsamoro government. But there are no provisions in the
BBL that address the root of poverty and injustice that are the causes of the Moro rebellion and
The BBL glaringly lacks any provision that puts an end to the monopoly control of agricultural
lands and mineral resources by foreign corporations and a handful of big compradors and
landlords through the free redistribution of land to farmers; nor provisions for the establishment
of job-creating industries; nor provisions to lift the Moro, indigenous people, and other
inhabitants of the Bangsamoro from poverty. The BBL appears to be saying that resolving the
socio-economic roots of rebellion should just be left to whoever takes power in the Bangsamoro.
The ordinary Moros and lumads and others who support the armed struggle in Mindanao are
farmers, fisherfolk, youth, women, and other poor people deprived of land, jobs, education,
health, and other basic services. If widespread poverty and injustice are not addressed, the
societal basis for the Moro armed struggle persists, just as it does for the armed revolution being
waged by the Communist Party of the Philippines, the National Democratic Front, and the New
Peoples Army.
Bigay-bawi and deception by government in the peace talks with the MILF and the
It is becoming increasingly apparent that grand deception and co-optation are the US-Aquino
regimes real objectives in engaging the MILF in peace talks, negotiating the Comprehensive
Agreement on the Bangsamoro and drafting the BBL. This is also part of the regimes divideand-rule tactic to neutralize the MILF and concentrate the governments armed force on the
The Aquino administration is now taking away, through amendments proposed by its allies in
Congress, the additional powers of the Bangsamoro government that it granted in the
negotiations with the MILF on the assurance that these are in accordance with the Constitution.
The government peace panel and Pres. Aquino himself insisted that no amendment of the
Constitution was necessary.
Ironically, the ongoing process of bigay-bawiamendments in Congress, including the argument
that eight or more provisions of the BBL are unconstitutional, are justified by taking the line that
the MILF cannot be trusted after what happened in Mamasapano. It was President Aquino
himself, together with then-suspended PNP Chief Gen. Purisima, who were primarily
accountable for the police operation in Mamasapano, which they approved without coordination
with the MILF, resulting in the carnage that rocked the administration and derailed the smooth
passage of the BBL.
Malacaang and the Liberal Party have clearly turned their backs on agreements the GPH had
signed with the MILF in seeking to take back the many concessions given to the MILF, on the
pretext that there are indeed unconstitutional provisions in the BBL that have to be amended or
deleted completely.
The administration and its allies in Congress are now pushing for bigay-bawi amendments
the nine exclusive powers of the national government in the committee chairmans draft of the
BBL will increase to 17, and the eight powers of the Bangsamoro government over the police,
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elections, human rights, the Ombudsman, audit, civil service, land registration, energy, and many
others will be removed.
Makabayan opposes the proposed amendments that take away or otherwise violate the
contents of the agreement entered into by government with the MILF. We will not allow
ourselves to be used in the bigay-bawi scheme and grand deception of the Aquino
administration. We criticize the governments violations of and the reneging on
agreements it entered into with the MILF, similar to what is happening in the peace
talks with the National Democratic Front.
We will uphold the proposals and demands that will strengthen the right to selfdetermination of the Moro people and the lumads. The socio-economic roots of war
must be identified and dismantled and programs for genuine land reform, job creation
and industrialization and wealth redistribution be instituted. There must be provisions
that prohibit the establishment of foreign military bases and curtail the unbridled
exploitation of the mineral and agricultural wealth and cheap labor of the Bangsamoro
and Mindanao by foreign capitalists.
We shall decide how we will vote after due consideration and study of the final version of
the BBL that will be put to a vote before the committee and in plenary.


Bayan Muna Partylist


Gabriela Womens Partylist


ACT Teachers Partylist


Gabriela Womens Partylist


Anakpawis Partylist


Bayan Muna Partylist


Kabataan Partylist

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