Open main menu

Bangsamoro Organic Law

The Bangsamoro Organic Law (Republic Act No. 11054), also known as Bangsamoro Basic Law and often referred to by the acronym "BOL" and "BBL" (Filipino: Batayang Batas para sa Rehiyong Awtonomo ng Bangsamoro),[2] is a Philippine law which provided for the establishment of the autonomous political entity known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).[3]

Bangsamoro Organic Law
Coat of arms of the Philippines.svg
Congress of the Philippines
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 reading3 October 2017
Second reading30 May 2018
Third reading30 May 2018
Conference committee bill passed24 July 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 reading28 February 2018
Second reading31 May 2018
Third reading31 May 2018
Conference committee bill passed23 July 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]

As an organic act, the Basic Law abolished the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and provided for the basic structure of government for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, 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 of Lanao del Norte, including areas who petitioned to join the Bangsamoro), creating the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region 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.[7]

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.[8]

The draft of the law was submitted by President Benigno Aquino III to Congress leaders on September 10, 2014.[9] 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.[10][11]

In the Senate, a revised version of the BBL, known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region Law (Senate Bill No. 2894[12]), was presented on August 11, 2015[13] after lengthy deliberations on the BBL in the Committee on Local Government,[13] and was due for interpellation on August 17, 2015.[14] Due to the length and complexity of the bill, however, the Senate temporarily deferred the period of interpellation for the bill.[15] The 16th Congress went on recess without passing the bill on February 2, 2016.[16]

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.[17][18][19]

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.[20] Opposition to the law was strongest among the poor (45% in Class D, 43% in Class E) and among those living in Mindanao (62%).[20] Awareness of the law was high, at 88%.[20]

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".[21]

17th CongressEdit

The passage of BBL was not initially set to be tackled by the 17th Congress.[22] After being pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte,[23] 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,[24] 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,[25] Alvarez was ousted from the Speaker's seat and replaced by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.[26][27] As promised by Arroyo once she took the Speaker's seat, the report was ratified on July 24, 2018,[28] 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][29] after asking for 48 hours during his SONA to review the bill.[30] 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 15 October 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 of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).[31]

The signing came at the end of peace talks held in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia from 2–6 October. These talks were the last of 32 peace talks between the two parties, which spanned a period of nine years.[31]

Annexes and AddendumEdit

The Framework Agreement was later fleshed out[32] 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 Feb. 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 Dec. 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 Jan. 25, 2014.
  • The Addendum on the Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation - Signed on Jan. 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 27 March 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.[33] 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.[33] The MILF had agreed to decommission its armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF). In return, the government would establish an autonomous Bangsamoro.[33] Power sharing was a central point to the autonomy redesign.[33]

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.[34]

Application of ShariahEdit

In 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.[35][36][37] The Islamic laws shall not apply on non-Muslims,[38] but they "may volunteer to submit to the jurisdiction of Shari'ah courts."[35]

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.[39][40][41]


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.[42]

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "The Bangsamoro Organic Law: Everything you need to know".
  2. ^ "Panukalang Batas Blg. 4994" (PDF). Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  3. ^ a b "FAQs about the Bangsamoro Basic Law". GMA News Online. GMA Network. September 10, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "House ratifies Bangsamoro". Manila Bulletin News. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  5. ^ a b "Duterte signs Bangsamoro Organic Law". cnn. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  6. ^ News, ABS-CBN. "Duterte signs Bangsamoro law". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  7. ^ "Primer on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law" (PDF). Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  8. ^ Marcelo, Ver (July 24, 2018). "Road to peace in Mindanao: The Bangsamoro Organic Law". CNN Philippines. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  9. ^ Andreo Calonzo (September 10, 2014). "PNoy personally submits draft Bangsamoro law to Congress leaders". GMA News Online. GMA Network. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  10. ^ "House passes proposed BBL, 50-17 | Inquirer News".
  11. ^ "BTC rejects HB 5811; urges Congress to pass BBL "in its original form"". 2015-07-30.
  12. ^ "Marcos' Bangsamoro bill 'exercise in futility' | Inquirer News".
  13. ^ a b Mendez, Christina (4 August 2015). "Senate sets new timeline for BBL approval". Philstar. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  14. ^ Gita, Ruth Abbey (13 August 2015). "Senate BBL debates to start August 17". Sun.Star. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  15. ^ Nicolas, Fiona. "Senate defers BBL deliberations". CNN Philippines. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  16. ^ "Congress buries Bangsamoro bill".
  17. ^ "Text message sent by Napeñas to AFP 6th Infantry Division commander at 6:18am". ABS-CBN News Channel Twitter. February 9, 2015. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  18. ^ "PNP: Elite cops killed in Maguindanao clashes". Rappler. January 25, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  19. ^ "Survey says: opinions on Bangsamoro Basic Law more favorable among those who know it". Business World Online. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  20. ^ a b c Calonzo, Andreo (March 19, 2015). "44% of Pinoys oppose passage of BBL —Pulse Asia". GMA News Online. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  21. ^ Yap, DJ; Salaverria, Leila; Dizon, Nikko (March 20, 2015). "44% vs BBL: Gov't needs Plan B". Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  22. ^ "No BBL: Next Congress to focus on federalism". Philstar Global.
  23. ^ Cayabyab, Marc Jayson (July 25, 2016). "Duterte urges 17th Congress to pass BBL". Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  24. ^ Merez, Arianne (11 July 2018). "Duterte to sign BBL before SONA". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  25. ^ Placido, Dharel (23 July 2018). "No Bangsamoro law on SONA day dismays Palace". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  26. ^ Morallo, Audrey (July 23, 2018). "Arroyo takes oath as speaker; Alvarez welcomes Duterte". Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  27. ^ Domingo, Katrina (23 July 2018). "Arroyo completes House coup after SONA". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  28. ^ "After one-day delay, House ratifies Bangsamoro law". Rappler. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  29. ^ "Duterte signs Bangsamoro Organic Law". Rappler. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  30. ^ Placido, Dharel (23 July 2018). "Duterte to sign Bangsamoro law in 48 hours". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  31. ^ a b "Govt, MILF agree to create 'Bangsamoro' to replace ARMM". GMA News Online. 2012-10-07. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  32. ^ Sabillo, Kristine Angeli (26 March 2014). "What is the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro?". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  33. ^ a b c d Sabillo, Kristine Angeli (2014-03-25). "500 MILF members to attend Bangsamoro accord signing at Palace". Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  34. ^ Avendaño, Christine (2015-05-26). "BBL: Gov't hit for lack of consultations with indigenous peoples". Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  35. ^ a b "Bicam approves creation of Shari'ah High Court in Bangsamoro".
  36. ^ "Shariah courts render 'quick action' on Muslims' disputes".
  37. ^'a/code_muslim.pdf
  38. ^
  39. ^ Chua, Ryan (May 14, 2015). "Two cities reject inclusion in Bangsamoro". ABS-CBN News.
  40. ^ Hegina, Aries Joseph (2015-05-14). "Zamboanga City shall never be under Bangsamoro—Mayor Climaco". Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  41. ^ Tamayo, Bernadette (February 10, 2018). "Zamboanga City wants out of BBL".
  42. ^ "Philconsa to SC: BOL will 'destroy country, dismember territories'". Manila Standaard. 21 December 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2019.