Shifting to a federal form of government perfectly aligns with the Bangsamoro’s hope for local autonomy, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“Federalism will cement in the Constitution the asymmetric relationship between the autonomous region of Bangsamoro and the federal government,” says DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan E. Malaya.
He says this to assure the people of Bangsamoro that federalism will not undo the developments of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), but rather, it will serve as the necessary push and support that Muslims in the region need for the autonomy they’ve been fighting for.
The Consultative Committee’s (Concom’s) proposed Bayanihan Federal Constitution recognizes the cultural framework of the Bangsamoro people brought about by their Muslim faith.
"Our Muslim brothers and sisters have a lot to look forward to when we shift to a federal system because it will only help you further the programs and projects needed to handle autonomy,” says Malaya.
In Article XI of Concom’s proposal, the Federal Republic will have 18 regions, sixteen of which will be symmetrical in natural.
Meanwhile, the Bangsamoro and the Cordilleras will have an asymmetrical setup due to provisions for their autonomy recognizing ethnicity, culture, religion, customs, traditions, language and distinct identities of the Bangsamoro people.
In addition, Concom’s model gives the Bangsamoro 75% share of all net revenues in the exploration, development, and utilization of its own natural resources.
“This will also strengthen the region through a bigger share in the national income,” Malaya says.
This, according to the DILG Assistant Secretary, will help the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) experience faster growth and development that will lift its people out of poverty and provide better opportunities for the Moros.
ARMM has vast agricultural lands endowed with rich natural resources and is home to Lake Lanao, the largest lake in Mindanao, making the region a source of hydroelectric power for Mindanao.
ARMM is also host to metallic minerals such as gold, silver, copper, manganese, nickel, zinc and iron.
“A vast array of potentials await ARMM under a federal setup. In the same vein, we are also excited to see the Bangsamoro finally attain autonomy if it wins the January 2019 plebiscite for the BOL,” says Malaya.
The Department thus invites the people of ARMM to attend its roadshow for federalism in Cotabato City on October 22-23, 2018 to learn more about the President’s desire to give more power and resources to Mindanao.