Detailed Implementation Timeline: Mindanao Final Agreement

I. Implementing Structure and Mechanism of this 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.
Mindanao Final Agreement (2 Sep 1996)

II. The Transitional Period

Article 3:

There shall be established a Special Zone of Peace and Development in the Southern Philippines (SZOPAD) covering the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Palawan and the cities of Cotabato, Dapitan, Dipolog, General Santos, Iligan, Marawi, Pagadian, Zamboanga and Puerto Princesa. Within the next three (3) years, these areas shall be the focus of intensive peace and development efforts. Public and private investments shall be channeled to these areas to spur economic activities and uplift the conditions of the people therein.

Implementation History

1996

No Implementation

The main timeline for implementation in the 1996 agreement concerned amending RA 6734 and allowing for elections to expand the territory included in the ARMM. This was supposed to occurr in Phase I (1996-1997). After this legislation is passed, a referendum should be held in 1998 to determine who joins the ARMM. The legislation to repeal RA 6734 and the associated referendum did not occur in 1996. On 2 October 1996, President Fidel Ramos gives Executive Order no. 371 proclaiming a Special Zone Of Peace and Development in the Southern Philippines and establishing the Southern Philippines Council For Peace And Development and the Consultative Assembly.1

1997

No Implementation

The legislation to repeal RA 6734 and the associated referendum did not occur in the year.

1998

No Implementation

The legislation to repeal RA 6734 and the associated referendum did not occur in the year.

1999

No Implementation

The legislation to repeal RA 6734 and the associated referendum did not occur in the year.

2000

No Implementation

The legislation to repeal RA 6734 and the associated referendum did not occur in the year.

2001

Intermediate Implementation

Five years past the deadlines put forth in the 1996 accord, the Expanded ARMM Law or Republic Act 9054 became law on March 31, 2001 and the government scheduled the plebiscite for August 2001. MNLF leader and Regional Governor Nur Misuari demanded that the plebiscite be postponed for three more years, fearing that the development projects had not had enough time to be successfull and that voters would oust him as leader and not choose to join the expanded ARMM.2  The referendum was held in August 2001 as planned. Of the 14 provinces and 9 cities in the SZOPAD, only one additional province (Basilan) and one city (Marawi) voted to be included in the new expanded ARMM. Nur Misuari was ousted as Governor and replaced by Parouk Hussin.3

  • 2. "Misuari warned against making more threats to rebel again," Business World, August 13, 1998.
  • 3. 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.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2003

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.

2004

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2005

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.