Kasarinlan: Philippine Journal of Third World Studies, Vol 15, No 2 (2000)

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Recycled Autonomy? Enacting the New Organic Act for a Regional Autonomous Government in Southern Philippines

Miriam Coronel Ferrer

Abstract


According to the 1996 Peace Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front a new autonomous government for Muslim Philippines should have been in place as early as October 1999. But due to delays in the legislative process, legal and administrative anomalies have followed suit, extending the transition phase. There appears to be some light at the end of the waiting tunnel. Senators managed to hammer out Senate Bill 2129 which, compared to the House version, could provide for a meaningful autonomy for the discontented Muslims. But while strong in strengthening fiscal autonomy, it was stingy in enhancing Moro representation and participation in the national body politique. The MNLF and Moro civil society must continue to engage the legislative arena to arrive at a mutually acceptable and workable Organic Act reflective of the spirit of the 1996 Agreement, which remains to date the best antidote to renewed fighting with the MNLF.

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