Decentralization/Federalism: Mindanao Final Agreement

Article 2:

Phase II shall involve an amendment to or repeal of the Organic Act (RA 6734) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) through Congressional action, after which the amendatory law shall be submitted to the people of the concerned areas in a plebiscite to determine the establishment of a new autonomous government and the specific area of autonomy thereof.

a. While peace and development programs are being implemented in the SZOPAD, a bill to amend or repeal the RA 6734 shall be initiated within Phase I (1996-1997). The bill shall include the pertinent provisions of the final Peace Agreement and the expansion of the present ARMM area of autonomy. After a law shall have been passed by Congress and approved by the President, it shall be submitted to the people for approval in a plebiscite in the affected areas, within two (2) years from the establishment of the SPCPD (1998).

b. The new area of autonomy shall then be determined by the provinces and cities that will vote/choose to join the said autonomy (1998). It may be provided by the Congress in a law that clusters of contiguous Muslim-dominated municipalities voting in favor of autonomy be merged and constituted into a new province(s) which shall become part of the new Autonomous Region.

Implementation History

1996

No Implementation

The Mindanao Final Agreement brokered between the MNLF and the Philippine government in 1996 called for further decentralization of power and increased autonomy for the people of the ARMM. Under the peace agreement, there would be a transition phase (Phase I) of several years characterized by intense development and aid projects, followed by another referendum on expanding the autonomous region. The peace agreement designated the current ARMM (4 provinces) along with 10 other provinces and nine cities to be a Special Zone of Peace and Development (SZOPAD). The hope of Nur Misuari and the MNLF was that the two phase process would pave the way for an expanded ARMM, as provinces would vote for inclusion after seeing the benefits of autonomous rule.1

  • 1. Astrid S. Tuminez, "This land is our land: Moro ancestral domain and its implications for peace and development in the Southern Philippines," SAIS Review 27, no. 2 (2007): 77-91.
1997

No Implementation

There were no changes made to expand the existing provincial boundaries of the ARMM this year. 

1998

No Implementation

There were no changes made to expand the existing provincial boundaries of the ARMM this year. 

1999

No Implementation

There were no changes made to expand the existing provincial boundaries of the ARMM this year. 

2000

No Implementation

There were no changes made to expand the existing provincial boundaries of the ARMM this year. 

2001

Full Implementation

As called for in the peace agreement, the Filipino legislature passed the Republic Act 9054 or Expanded ARMM Law in 2001. The plebiscite which was to determine which provinces would join the new ARMM was scheduled for August 2001. Of the 14 provinces and 9 cities in the SZOPAD that voted in the referendum, only one additional province (Basilan) and one city (Marawi) voted for inclusion in the new expanded ARMM. Thus, the new ARMM consisted of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Tawi-tawi, Sulu, Basilan and Marawi.2

2002

Full Implementation

No further changes were made to the provincial boundaries of the ARMM following the final referendum in August 2001.

2003

Full Implementation

No further changes were made to the provincial boundaries of the ARMM following the final referendum in August 2001.

2004

Full Implementation

No further changes were made to the provincial boundaries of the ARMM following the final referendum in August 2001.

2005

Full Implementation

No further changes were made to the provincial boundaries of the ARMM following the final referendum in August 2001.