Updates Per Peace Table

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FAQs on the Annex on Power Sharing

 

Q: What is the Annex on Power Sharing? Why is it crucial to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro?

» The Annex on Power Sharing is the third of the four Annexes to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) that will complete the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on the Bangsamoro.  

It is composed of four parts: 

  • Part I on Intergovernmental Relations enumerates the principles that will govern the relationship between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government, as well as with the local governments in the Bangsamoro; 
  • Part II on Governance Structure provides some details on the ministerial form of government for the Bangsamoro, including the composition of the Bangsamoro assembly; 
  • Part III on Delineation of Powers identifies the powers under the three lists of powers – reserved, concurrent, and exclusive; and 
  • Part IV on Other Matters provides guiding principles in relation to taxation, transportation and communication, mineral and energy resources, and powers already devolved to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).  

 

The Annex on Power Sharing will guide the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) in the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that will be submitted to the Philippine Congress.  Together with the Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing, it aims to ensure that the Bangsamoro Government will enjoy meaningful autonomy based on the inhabitants’ “distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant characteristics” (Sec. 15, Art. X, 1987 Constitution). Moreover, it provides the Bangsamoro with the competencies to be able to exercise accountable and effective self-governance.

 

Q: The Bangsamoro shall have a ministerial form of government. Is such a government structure possible under the 1987 Constitution?    

» Yes. The Constitution provides for a structure of government for the national government, i.e. the presidential system and its three branches of government. 
At the same time, consistent with the principles of devolution and autonomy, the Constitution left it to the wisdom of Congress to determine the appropriate government structures for local government units and the autonomous regions. The government structure of the Bangsamoro shall be provided in the Bangsamoro Basic Law, or the organic act for the Bangsamoro.

On local governments, Sec. 3, Article X stipulates that “The Congress hall enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure… .”

On the autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera, Sec. 18, Article X, states that “The organic act shall define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive department and the legislative assembly… .” 

 

Q: Who will head the Bangsamoro Government? Will the leaders be democratically elected?

» Notably, the Constitution requires that the members of the executive and legislative departments of autonomous regions be elective and representative of the constituent political units.

The Annex on Power Sharing ensures that these requirements are met. 

Registered voters in the Bangsamoro shall elect their representatives in the Bangsamoro assembly. These representatives, in turn, will elect among themselves the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister will then choose the deputy and other ministers that will form the Cabinet. Most of these ministers shall come from the assembly.

This system of election encourages the formation of political parties because usually, the political party that wins the majority of seats and/or is allied with the other political parties is able to secure the post of Chief Minister. It is very different from the current set up wherein the ARMM regional governor and vice- governor are elected directly by the people. 

 

Q: Who will sit in the Bangsamoro assembly? How do we make sure that other groups will be represented in the assembly?

» The Annex on Power Sharing states that the Bangsamoro assembly will be made up of at least 50 members. Through different kinds of seats –- district, reserved, party-list and sectoral – it ensures that the Bangsamoro assembly shall be  “representative of the Bangsamoro’s constituent political units, as well as non-Moro indigenous communities, women, settler communities, and other sectors.” 

The Bangsamoro Basic Law shall define how the people will vote for and how the winners in the district, sectoral, party-list and reserved seats shall be determined. The system of election may combine diverse modes of proportional representation, alongside the current set-up of geographic/district seats where the candidates with the highest number of votes secure the district seats.

 

Q: In the event of conflict between the laws, programs and standards of the Central Government and that of the Bangsamoro Government, which shall prevail? Is there a mechanism to address these conflicts?

» Part I of the Annex on Power Sharing enumerates the principles that will govern the relationship between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government. One of these principles is the creation of Central Government – Bangsamoro Government Intergovernmental Relations mechanisms that will serve as venue for the resolution of any issues that may arise on the exercise within the Bangsamoro of the respective powers of the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government. 

The objective is to resolve any conflict and to harmonize and coordinate Central Government and Bangsamoro Government actions through regular consultations and continuing negotiations in a non-adversarial manner.

The Annex also provides for a Philippine Congress – Bangsamoro assembly forum for purposes of cooperation and coordination of legislative initiatives.

 

Q: What are reserved powers? Why are these reserved to the Central Government?

» Reserved powers are authorities that are by their nature to be exercised only by a state, and are thus retained by the Central Government. They apply to the Bangsamoro as part of the Republic of the Philippines. 

For example, defense and external security, which involves the actions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, is within the full control of its Commander- in-Chief, the President. Foreign policy, which affects the overall relations of the Philippines with other states, also remains the reserved power of the Central Government. By the same token, jurisdiction over citizenship and naturalization, immigration, customs and tariff, common market and global trade, and intellectual property rights – matters which inherently impact on the Philippines’ dealings with other nations – are retained by the Central Government.

Other reserved powers that must be centrally administered if these are to remain effective are coinage and monetary policy and postal service.

 

Q: What are concurrent powers?

» The term “concurrent” is used generally to refer to powers that the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government will share or jointly exercise within the Bangsamoro, or where ways and means for cooperation and coordination shall be further defined in the Bangsamoro Basic Law. 

For example, in the exercise of powers over quarantine, land registration, pollution control, penology and penitentiary, coastguard, disaster risk reduction and management, and public order and safety, the Bangsamoro Government and the Central Government will work closely and will cooperate and coordinate to 

Ensure the effective execution of these functions within the Bangsamoro. The exercise of concurrent powers over the enforcement of customs and tariff laws and regulations and funding for the maintenance of national roads, bridges, and irrigation systems likewise calls for cooperation and coordination between the two.

Concurrent powers can also mean “shared” powers wherein the Bangsamoro Government can establish its own systems and policies, without diminishing the authorities of the existing Central Government bodies. This is true in the case of social security and pensions, human rights promotion and protection, auditing, civil service, and administration of justice. 

In all, there are 14 concurrent powers listed in the Annex.

 

Q: There are 58 items under the list of exclusive powers of the Bangsamoro. What do “exclusive powers” mean and what are these powers?

» The list of exclusive powers refers to those matters over which authority and jurisdiction pertain, or are effectively devolved, to the Bangsamoro Government. They cover diverse concerns ranging from education, history and culture to regulation of trade, manufacturing and public utilities, as well as management of the environment. Altogether they provide a set of responsibilities and functions, the meaningful and effective exercise of which will prove the true worth of an autonomous government. 

The list of exclusive powers can be found on pages 7-12 of the signed Annex.

 

Q: Is the Central Government prevented from intervening on matters that are within the exclusive powers of the Bangsamoro Government?

» The Bangsamoro Government is still a governmental unit within the ambit of the Philippine state. As such, the provisions in the Annex on Power Sharing are subject to all constitutional guidelines including the general supervision of the President over the autonomous regions (Sec. 16, Art X. 1987 Constitution). However, the President’s general supervision over the Bangsamoro, especially in the exercise of its exclusive powers, will be with due deference to its regional autonomy, a notion likewise guaranteed in the Constitution.

Moreover, it is understood that standards and programs pertaining to matters such as education, trade, labor, budgeting, financial and banking system, etc. shall be harmonized.

It must be stressed that these exclusive governmental powers are to be exercised by the Bangsamoro Government within its jurisdiction. When there is impact beyond its territorial jurisdiction, other concerned government units shall exercise their respective authorities. 

 

Q: Will the powers of the constitutional bodies (Commission on elections, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit, and Commission on human rights) be affected by the Bangsamoro Government’s powers over the same subject matters?

» No. The Annex on Power Sharing does not at any instance diminish the powers granted to these bodies under the Constitution. 

In the exercise of the concurrent power over human rights and humanitarian protection and promotion, the Bangsamoro government’s human rights body will work cooperatively with the national Commission on Human Rights (CHR). Notably, this is the on-going arrangement between the current Regional Human Rights Commission in the ARMM and the CHR.

Likewise, the creation of their own auditing bodies and own civil service code are expressly without prejudice to the authorities of the national Civil Service Commission and the national Commission on Audit. In the same manner, the Bangsamoro Government may enact regional laws that will operationalize the electoral system suitable to a ministerial form of government as provided in the Bangsamoro Basic Law. The COMELEC shall still enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of elections.

 

Q: What would the administration of justice look like in the Bangsamoro? Will the power of the Supreme Court be diminished? 

» Justice institutions in the Bangsamoro shall consist of regular civil courts in accordance with national laws, Shari’ah courts that would enforce the Shari’ah justice system within the Bangsamoro, and institutions that would operationalize the recognition of indigenous processes as alternative modes of dispute resolution. 

The adoption of Shari’ah and customary justice in the overall justice system in the Bangsamoro is not novel as these are already recognized in the current ARMM Organic Act (Republic Act No. 9054). Personal and family laws for Muslims are already codified under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws (Presidential Decree No. 1083). Current alternative dispute resolution practice accommodates any process, including indigenous dispute resolution, used to resolve a dispute other than by court action. 

These arrangements do not diminish the judicial power of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court may also institute the necessary offices that will administer the courts in this region, such as a deputy court administrator, and inform its own processes, such as the jurisconsult which renders legal opinions on Shari’ah matters.

 

Q: Will non-muslims in the Bangsamoro be affected by Shari’ah law? 

» The FAB provides that the Shari’ah and its application shall only be to Muslims.

However, given that the Bangsamoro shall be the only region in the country where majority of the population are Muslims, matters important to the practices and way of life of Muslims (hajj, umrah, halal certification, Islamic banking systems, awqaf, hisbah and Shari’ah courts) shall form part of the offices and programs of the Bangsamoro Government.

 

Q: How will the Bangsamoro Government’s exclusive powers over trade, barter trade and countertrade, registration of business names, and other items relevant to trade affect the Central Government’s reserved powers over foreign policy and common market and global trade?

» Only the Central Government, through the President, can enter into international agreements, set foreign policy, and represent the country in matters dealing with foreign relations. International treaties, moreover, need the ratification of the Philippine Congress. It follows that only the Central Government can make commitments to trade organizations and establish diplomatic and economic ties with other states. These are consistent with the reserved powers of the Central Government over foreign policy and common market and global trade.

The Bangsamoro Government may promote business investments and engage in trade (and cultural activities) among foreign entities, including the traditional barter trade and countertrade with the ASEAN countries. Such endeavors are to be guided by the country’s international commitments and obligations, diplomatic relations, and relevant national laws.

 

Q: How are the rights of indigenous peoples (IPs) protected by the Annex on Power Sharing?

» The Annex on Power Sharing contains a provision obligating the Bangsamoro Government to protect the rights of IPs under its administrative jurisdiction. The reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples indicates the commitment to upholding IP’s rights to self-determination, non- discriminatory treatment, and their traditional lands, among others. Moreover, individual and community property rights, cultural integrity, customary beliefs, historical and community traditions are recognized. These parameters are to be observed by the Bangsamoro Government.

The IPs are likewise guaranteed representation in the Bangsamoro assembly and the council of leaders.

 

Q: In all, how can women, indigenous peoples and other sectors in the Bangsamoro directly participate in governance? How can their welfare be promoted?

» The Annex on Power Sharing specifically provides that the Bangsamoro assembly shall be representative of its constituent sectors. Seats for IPs, women, and other sectors shall be allocated in the Bangsamoro assembly and ministers responsible for promoting their rights and welfare may be appointed. The Bangsamoro council of leaders shall include their representatives. 

Moreover, the Annex on Power Sharing compels the Bangsamoro Government to establish appropriate mechanisms for consultations with women and marginalized sectors, and to institute special development programs and laws for women, the youth, the elderly, labor, the differently-abled, and indigenous cultural communities.

Q: In what ways does the Annex on Power Sharing build on the Final Peace Agreement (FPA) with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)?

» The Annex on Power Sharing stipulates that specific powers already contained in other peace agreements such as the FPA and already provided by Republic Act No. 9054 or the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, may be adopted in the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Moreover, the recommendations from the review process of the 1996 FPA that is being facilitated by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation shall be taken into account for possible incorporation in the Bangsamoro Basic Law. The recommended amendments of the ARMM Regional Legislative Assembly to R.A. No. 9054 shall also be considered.

Following the passage of the Basic Law and the conduct of the plebiscite, the Bangsamoro can have a potentially expanded core territory. As provided in the Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing, there shall be a much- enhanced wealth sharing arrangement between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government in the form of additional taxes devolved and new sharing formula from government revenues. The Bangsamoro Government will likewise receive an automatically appropriated and regularly released Bangsamoro block grant. In addition, a Special Development Fund for rehabilitation and development purposes shall be released to the Bangsamoro Government upon the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. 

The short transition period under the Bangsamoro Transition Authority and the broad-based representation in the Bangsamoro assembly will open many spaces for enhanced collaboration between those coming from the MILF and the MNLF leadership and membership, a well as with other social and political groups. All of them are encouraged to form their respective political parties so that they can ably and peacefully compete in the first regular election for the Bangsamoro assembly in 2016, and amicably share political power in the legislative body and the other governance institutions that will make up the Bangsamoro Government.