Year 2012 will be remembered as the time when the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) agreed to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with a new self-governing entity, being a “failed experiment,” as far as President Benigno Aquino III is concerned.
The ARMM’s creation was a brainchild of Aquino’s matriarch, former President Corazon Aquino, as part of her administration’s initial peace overture with the MILF, which resulted in the crafting of the September 2, 1996 government-MNLF final peace agreement, during the time of then President Fidel Ramos.
It was Mrs. Aquino, in fact, who created the Regional Consultative Commission or RCC that drafted the ARMM’s first ever charter, Republic Act 6743, which was ratified through a plebiscite in 1990, resulting into the fusion of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi together as territory of the autonomous region.
The ARMM’s area was expanded, which eventually included the island province of Basilan and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi, with the ratification of its amended charter, R.A. 9054, through another plebiscite in August 2001.
The replacement of the ARMM with a new autonomous political entity, through a political and legislative transitional process that would last until 2016, is the main objective of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), signed October 15 this year by the government and MILF panels in Malacañang.
Peace talks between the government and the MILF started Jan. 7, 1997, a process that saw “ups and downs” causing its collapse over a dozen times, sparked by security problems in many flashpoint areas the rebel group wants to group together as Bangsamoro homeland.
For a while, local sectors were euphoric over the signing of the FAB, something residents of the autonomous region never thought would happen so soon, much sooner than they expected.
President Aquino has created the Transition Commission (TransCom) through Executive Order 120, to oversee the drafting of the Basic Bangsamoro Law that is to become the “body and soul” of the Bangsamoro region.
“We in the ARMM government are ready to make that vision come true. We are ready to help in the transition process,” said the region’s acting governor, Mujiv Hataman. [More]