Bangsamoro Organic Law

The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL; Filipino: Batayang Batas para sa Rehiyong Awtonomo ng Bangsamoro),[2] also known as the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), and officially designated as Republic Act No. 11054, is a Philippine law which provided for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).[3]

Bangsamoro Organic Law
Coat of Arms of the Philippines.svg
Congress of the Philippines
  • An Act Providing for the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Repealing for the purpose Republic Act No. 6734, Entitled "An Act providing an Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao", as amended by Republic Act No. 9054, Entitled "An Act to strengthen and expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao"[1]
CitationRepublic Act No. 11054
Territorial extentPlebiscite:
Post ratification:
Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
Enacted byHouse of Representatives of the Philippines
PassedJuly 24, 2018
Enacted bySenate of the Philippines
PassedJuly 23, 2018
SignedJuly 26, 2018
Signed byPresident Rodrigo Duterte
EffectiveAugust 10, 2018
Legislative history
Bill introduced in the House of Representatives of the PhilippinesProviding for the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro and Abolishing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Repealing for the Purpose Republic Act No. 9054, Entitled "An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao", and Republic Act No. 6734, Entitled, "An Act Providing for an Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao"
Bill citationHouse Bill No. 6475
Introduced bySpeaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Minority Leader Danilo Suarez et al.
First readingOctober 3, 2017
Second readingMay 30, 2018
Third readingMay 30, 2018
Conference committee bill passedJuly 24, 2018
Bill introduced in the Senate of the PhilippinesBasic Law for the Bangsamoro
Bill citationSenate Bill No. 1717
Introduced bySenate President Aquilino Pimentel III et. al.
First readingFebruary 28, 2018
Second readingMay 31, 2018
Third readingMay 31, 2018
Conference committee bill passedJuly 23, 2018
Status: In force

Legislative efforts for the establishment of a Bangsamoro autonomous region was first proposed and deliberated upon by the 16th Congress of the Philippines but failed to pass into law. The issue was taken up once again in the 17th Congress. The legislation was ratified by both the Senate and the House of Representatives on July 23 and 24, 2018 respectively.[4] The bill was finally signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 26, 2018.[5][6] The provisions of the law became effective on August 10, 2018.[7]

As an organic act, the basic law abolished the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and provided for the basic structure of government for Bangsamoro, following the agreements set forth in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro peace agreement signed between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2014.[3]

A two-part plebiscite was held on January 21 (for ARMM areas) and February 6 (for Cotabato and the 6 municipalities in Lanao del Norte, including areas who petitioned to join the region), creating Bangsamoro and formally abolishing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Parts of the proposed lawEdit

The various portions of BBL as proposed by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission which had been assigned to draft the bill include sections covering (but not limited to) Bangsamoro identity, Bangsamoro territory, Bangsamoro government, Bangsamoro justice system, Bangsamoro basic rights, Bangsamoro economic, financial, and fiscal framework and provisions relating transition to the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.[8]

Legislative historyEdit

16th CongressEdit

Following the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro after talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2012, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) was instituted by President Benigno Aquino to create a draft for a Bangsamoro Basic Law. In March 2014, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro was signed which would serve as basis for the BBL. In August, the BTC's second draft was handed over to President Aquino.[9]

The draft of the law was submitted by President Benigno Aquino III to Congress leaders on September 10, 2014.[10] An ad hoc committee assigned to the bill by the House of Representatives passed its version of the bill, House Bill No. 5811, on May 20, 2015.[11][12]

In the Senate, a revised version of the BBL, known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region Law (Senate Bill No. 2894[13]), was presented on August 11, 2015[14] after lengthy deliberations on the BBL in the Committee on Local Government,[14] and was due for interpellation on August 17, 2015.[15] Due to the length and complexity of the bill, however, the Senate temporarily deferred the period of interpellation for the bill.[16] The 16th Congress went on recess without passing the bill on February 2, 2016.[17]

Mamasapano clash and public reactionEdit

On Sunday, January 25, 2015, three platoons of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) under the Philippine National Police entered the guerrilla enclave of Tukanalipao, Mindanao, Philippines, with the goal of detaining two high-ranking Jemaah Islamiyah-affiliated, improvised-explosive-device experts, Zulkifli Abdhir (also known as Marwan) and Abdul Basit Usman. The SAF troops raided the hut where they believed Marwan was located, and the man they believed to be Marwan engaged them in a firefight and was killed. However, the shooting alerted armed forces in the area. What followed was a bloody encounter that left 44 SAF, 18 MILF, and 5 BIFF dead, where the 44 SAF members were trapped with little ammunition between the rogue BIFF and a group of MILF fighters. A video was released afterwards which showed MILF fighters shooting the feet of a SAF member then shooting the head twice while taking the video.[18][19][20]

Supposedly as a result of the negative media coverage arising from the Mamasapano incident, the March 2015 survey conducted by public opinions polling group Pulse Asia found that 44% of Filipinos were opposed to the Bangsamoro Basic Law's passage, with only 22% supporting its passage.[21] Opposition to the law was strongest among the poor (45% in Class D, 43% in Class E) and among those living in Mindanao (62%).[21] Awareness of the law was high, at 88%.[21]

With the collapse in popularity of the bill, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. acknowledged the prospect that the bill may be rejected by Congress in the face of stiff public opposition, and hoped that the government would produce a "Plan B".[22]

17th CongressEdit

President Rodrigo Duterte (standing, left) receives the result of the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law from COMELEC Chairman Sheriff Abas during a ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on February 22, 2019.

The passage of BBL was not initially set to be tackled by the 17th Congress.[23] After being pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte,[24] the Congress began reading BBL for the first time in the House of Representatives (as House Bill No. 6475) and the Senate (as Senate Bill No. 1717) on October 3, 2017 and February 28, 2018 respectively. BBL passed the second and third readings in both the House and the Senate on May 30 and 31, 2018.

Both bills were supposed to be enacted before the third State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Duterte,[25] with the Senate ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the morning of July 23, 2018, but the House, under the speakership of Pantaleon Alvarez, failed to ratify the bicameral conference committee report before SONA. While the Palace was dismayed by the delayed ratification of the report by the House,[26] Alvarez was ousted from the Speaker's seat and replaced by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.[27][28] As promised by Arroyo once she took the Speaker's seat, the report was ratified on July 24, 2018,[29] paving the way for both Bills of the House and the Senate to be transmitted to the President for enactment.

President Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law on July 26, 2018,[4][5][30] after asking for 48 hours during his SONA to review the bill.[31] The passing of BBL will set a precedent for federalism as pushed by the administration.

Ratification through plebisciteEdit

Relevant agreementsEdit

The Framework Agreement on the BangsamoroEdit

On October 15, 2012, a preliminary peace agreement was signed in the Malacañan Palace between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Government of the Philippines. This was the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which called for the creation of an autonomous political entity named Bangsamoro, replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).[32]

The signing came at the end of peace talks held in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia from October 2–6. These talks were the last of 32 peace talks between the two parties, which spanned a period of nine years.[32]

Annexes and AddendumEdit

The Framework Agreement was later fleshed out[33] by four Annexes and an addendum:

  • The Annex on Transitional Modalities and Arrangements – established the transitional process for the establishment of the Bangsamoro, and detailed the creation of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, and the Bangsamoro Basic Law. This Annex was signed on February 27, 2013.
  • The Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing – enumerated the sources of wealth creation and financial assistance for the new Bangsamoro entity. This Annex was signed on July 13, 2013.
  • The Annex on Power Sharing – discussed intergovernmental relations of the central government, the Bangsamoro government and the local government units under the Bangsamoro. This Annex was signed on December 8, 2013.
  • The Annex on Normalization – paved the way for the laying down of weapons of MILF members and their transition to civilian life. Normalization is the process through which the communities affected by the conflict in Mindanao can return to peaceful life and pursue sustainable livelihood. This Annex was signed on January 25, 2014.
  • The Addendum on the Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation – Signed on January 25, 2014, this addendum detailed the scope of waters under the territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro (12 nautical miles from the coast), and Zones of Joint Cooperation or bodies of water (Sulu Sea and Moro Gulf) within the territory of the Philippines but not within the Bangsamoro.

The Comprehensive Agreement on the BangsamoroEdit

On March 27, 2014, a final peace agreement fully fleshing out the terms of the framework agreement and annexes, known as the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) was signed between the two parties.[34] Under the agreement, the Islamic separatists would turn over their firearms to a third party, which would be selected by the rebels and the Philippine government.[34] The MILF had agreed to decommission its armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF). In return, the government would establish an autonomous Bangsamoro.[34] Power sharing was a central point to the autonomy redesign.[34]

Issues concerning BBLEdit

Indigenous rightsEdit

Numerous indigenous groups in the Bangsamoro region do not adhere to Catholicism nor Islam, making them vulnerable to exploitation in a proposed Muslim-controlled regional government. In 2015, various indigenous people groups rejected the formation of the Bangsamoro due to lack of consultation with all stakeholders, especially the non-Muslim indigenous people who form a huge minority in the proposed region, Meaning, they oppose the possible enforcement of the Sharia Law.[35]

Application of ShariahEdit

On July 12, 2018, the Bicam between the Senate and the House approved the application of Shariah law to all Muslims in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.[36][37][38] The Islamic laws shall not apply on non-Muslims,[39] but they "may volunteer to submit to the jurisdiction of Shari'ah courts."[36]

Christian concernsEdit

Roman Catholics and numerous Christian groups form a huge presence in several areas in the proposed Bangsamoro and surrounding areas, notably in Basilan, Cotabato City, the Cotabato region, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga provinces, and Lanao del Norte. Various cities and municipalities, notably Isabela City in Basilan and Zamboanga City have rejected their inclusion in the Bangsamoro region.[40][41][42]


The Philippine Constitution Association believes that the Bangsamoro Organic Law will lead to the destruction and dismemberment of the Philippines. They also view the provision as unconstitutional saying that the constitution must be amended since it only consent to one autonomous region in Mindanao viewing the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region as a distinct political entity to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. It also criticized the powers given to the Bangsamoro regional legislature which it says are originally reserved to the Philippine Congress. It also objects to some revenue from taxation going straight to the Bangsamoro region which it says gives "unfair" advantage over other regions.[43]

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "The Bangsamoro Organic Law: Everything you need to know". CNN Philippines.
  2. ^ "Panukalang Batas Blg. 4994" (PDF). Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 10, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "FAQs about the Bangsamoro Basic Law". GMA News. GMA Network. September 10, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "House ratifies Bangsamoro". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Duterte signs Bangsamoro Organic Law". CNN Philippines. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  6. ^ "Duterte signs Bangsamoro law". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  7. ^ Lalu, Gabriel Pabico (October 30, 2018). "Sulu LGU asks SC to junk 'unconstitutional' Bangsamoro law". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  8. ^ "Primer on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law" (PDF). Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 24, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  9. ^ Marcelo, Ver (July 24, 2018). "Road to peace in Mindanao: The Bangsamoro Organic Law". CNN Philippines. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  10. ^ Andreo Calonzo (September 10, 2014). "PNoy personally submits draft Bangsamoro law to Congress leaders". GMA News. GMA Network. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  11. ^ "House passes proposed BBL, 50-17". Philippine Daily Inquirer.
  12. ^ "BTC rejects HB 5811; urges Congress to pass BBL "in its original form"". MindaNews. July 30, 2015.
  13. ^ "Marcos' Bangsamoro bill 'exercise in futility'". Philippine Daily Inquirer.
  14. ^ a b Mendez, Christina (August 4, 2015). "Senate sets new timeline for BBL approval". The Philippine Star. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  15. ^ Gita, Ruth Abbey (August 13, 2015). "Senate BBL debates to start August 17". Sun.Star. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  16. ^ Nicolas, Fiona. "Senate defers BBL deliberations". CNN Philippines. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  17. ^ "Congress buries Bangsamoro bill". The Philippine Star.
  18. ^ "Text message sent by Napeñas to AFP 6th Infantry Division commander at 6:18 am". ABS-CBN News Channel Twitter. February 9, 2015. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  19. ^ "PNP: Elite cops killed in Maguindanao clashes". Rappler. January 25, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  20. ^ "Survey says: opinions on Bangsamoro Basic Law more favorable among those who know it". BusinessWorld. June 5, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  21. ^ a b c Calonzo, Andreo (March 19, 2015). "44% of Pinoys oppose passage of BBL —Pulse Asia". GMA News. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  22. ^ Yap, DJ; Salaverria, Leila; Dizon, Nikko (March 20, 2015). "44% vs BBL: Gov't needs Plan B". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  23. ^ "No BBL: Next Congress to focus on federalism". Philstar Global.
  24. ^ Cayabyab, Marc Jayson (July 25, 2016). "Duterte urges 17th Congress to pass BBL". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  25. ^ Merez, Arianne (July 11, 2018). "Duterte to sign BBL before SONA". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  26. ^ Placido, Dharel (July 23, 2018). "No Bangsamoro law on SONA day dismays Palace". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  27. ^ Morallo, Audrey (July 23, 2018). "Arroyo takes oath as speaker; Alvarez welcomes Duterte". The Philippine Star. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  28. ^ Domingo, Katrina (July 23, 2018). "Arroyo completes House coup after SONA". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  29. ^ "After one-day delay, House ratifies Bangsamoro law". Rappler. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  30. ^ "Duterte signs Bangsamoro Organic Law". Rappler. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  31. ^ Placido, Dharel (July 23, 2018). "Duterte to sign Bangsamoro law in 48 hours". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  32. ^ a b "Govt, MILF agree to create 'Bangsamoro' to replace ARMM". GMA News. October 7, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  33. ^ Sabillo, Kristine Angeli (March 26, 2014). "What is the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro?". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  34. ^ a b c d Sabillo, Kristine Angeli (March 25, 2014). "500 MILF members to attend Bangsamoro accord signing at Palace". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  35. ^ Avendaño, Christine (May 26, 2015). "BBL: Gov't hit for lack of consultations with indigenous peoples". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  36. ^ a b "Bicam approves creation of Shari'ah High Court in Bangsamoro". Rappler.
  37. ^ "Shariah courts render 'quick action' on Muslims' disputes". Philippine News Agency.
  38. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 28, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  39. ^
  40. ^ Chua, Ryan (May 14, 2015). "Two cities reject inclusion in Bangsamoro". ABS-CBN News.
  41. ^ Hegina, Aries Joseph (May 14, 2015). "Zamboanga City shall never be under Bangsamoro—Mayor Climaco". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  42. ^ Tamayo, Bernadette (February 10, 2018). "Zamboanga City wants out of BBL". The Manila Times.
  43. ^ "Philconsa to SC: BOL will 'destroy country, dismember territories'". Manila Standaard. December 21, 2018. Retrieved February 14, 2019.