A Bangsamoro state is only possible in a fully-federalised Philippine republic

The trouble with all notions of an autonomous Muslim state is that it implies that Muslims are “special” Filipinos deserving of special treatment. The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and, now, the proposed Bangsamoro “state” by their very nature are both tainted by that ill-conceived specialness. Worse, both entities were created under threat of continued violence and war.


Indeed, in the case of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that will frame governance in the Bangsamoro “state”, the debate has degenerated to a question of who is “for peace” and who is “for war”, with the latter position unfairly associated with those who oppose the passage of the BBL. It does not help that both sides of the negotiating table in the “peace” process, the Philippine government panel led by Teresita Quintos-Deles and Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, and the side of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front led by Murad Ibrahim and the man currently knwon as “Mohagher Iqbal” have repeatedly hinted that war is the inevitable outcome of a failure to pass the BBL.

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The solution, therefore, is to remove the specialness of the autonomy to be granted to the “Bangsamoro people”. This can be done by making the notion of an autonomous state accessible to all Filipinos. If we are to go down the path of granting autonomy to one group, then we should go the whole nine yards and grant autonomy to all.

Therefore, if we want to see an autonomous Bangsamoro state, then it should be a state within a fully-federalised Philippine republic.

The Bangsamoro is only one of several other hypothetical states within the Philippines that each have legitimate, albeit varying, claims to autonomy. In his book A Country of Our Own, award-winning author and intellectual David Martinez tables a provocative proposal that sees the possible breakup of the Philippine Republic into five autonomous regions…

The country in [Martinez’s] eyes comprises five regions (“nations”): Cordillera, Luzon, The Visayas, Mindanao, and Bangsamoro. He proposes holding legally binding referenda in each of these places to determine whether those who live there wish to remain inside the Philippines or form their own independent country.

The Philippines, after all, is no more than an artificial state originally created by the Spanish crown mainly for the purpose of consolidating and streamlining colonial administration of its assets in the region. The former countries of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, and now internally-unstable Rwanda, come to mind when one thinks of what the Philippines is all about — an agglomeration of fiefdoms that remain stuck together for the purpose of keeping alive nostalgic relics of 19th Century “nationalist” thinking and not for any real practical or measurable ends befitting a modern 21st Century society.

If autonomy can be considered — and granted — to Bangsamoro, then so too should the same be evaluated and considered for the other four regions Martinez posits.

The alternative is to pass the BBL (even in an amended form that supposedly makes it “constitutionally-correct”) and create an ugly affront to all notions of fairness, equality, and consistency over a large swath of Mindanao. An “autonomous” Bangsamoro state under the current form of government in the Philippines will be like a big lump severely throwing out the centre of gravity of a spinning wheel. Most motorists know what it is like driving a car equipped with unbalanced wheels — extremely unstable and dangerous at high speeds.

Will “peace” really be the outcome of an autonomous Bangsamoro region? Very unlikely. There can only be peace when all Filipinos feel that all are treated fairly. When a minority community is treated in a special way, conflict will be the inevitable outcome.

16 Replies to “A Bangsamoro state is only possible in a fully-federalised Philippine republic”

  1. if some sort of ‘sub-state’ is to be the end result of the BBL’s unintended consequences, what then of those who are ‘different’ in some way – the Lumads, Christians, Rohyngas?
    will federalism ever be tried, or just used as a pretext before ethnic cleansing begins in earnest?
    Like Yugoslavia before it started breaking up, it took over a decade, was extremely costly in terms of lives and properties lost, and is still going on today with that small failed state, Kosovo.

  2. The essence of independence has been to think and act according to standards from within, not without: to follow one’s own path, not that of the crowd.

    The proverb warns that, ‘You should not bite the hand that feeds you.’ But maybe you should, if it prevents you from feeding yourself.

  3. If in case it’d be established po, what provinces would be part of this proposed “autonomous Bangsamoro region”? I’m sure a lot of people will be shock to hear their place being under it since it’s mostly just their representatives who are involved in the discussion.

  4. I’m all for fully-federalized Philippines, by the way. BBL is just one proof that this small country is too much for incompetent leaders to handle.

    1. another problem is that the country is an archipelago. islands separated by waters. then the govt tries to unite all? come on. ditto pa lang sa Luzon nagkakatalo na eh. isama mo pa visayas at Mindanao.

      Germany nga isang buong lupa nag-federalize at Canada/U.S.A. pero may iba’t-ibang reason per country why federalism is applied.

  5. actually last card na ang Federalism. at mas ok pa ito kesa sa BBL. Federal State is the legal way. problema nga lang if BBL is passed, Nur Misuari will ask the same. Mindanao will have 2 states: bangsamoro and bangsaTausug. mahati ang Mindanao.

    ganito naman talaga dapat ang setup ng pinas eh. we should have been a Confederation of LuzViMinda. no such thing as Philippines (king Philip).

    1. Sang-ayon ako. Problema talaga kapag naipasa BBL, sa kasalukuyan nitong konteksto at sa kondisyong ipinepresenta ng peke nilang kinatawan kapag hindi ito naipatupad, kasi patunay ito na watak-watak mga Muslim sa Mindanao. At lahat ýan posibleng maging kalaban ng gobyerno dahil mayroon silang sariling batas na nais ipatupad, batas ng Islam. Hindi makita nila Deles at Ferrer un. Ang BBL kasi para sa kanila parang candy na io-offer sa kaaway para bati na sila. Weh, kahit ba bati na ‘di na pwedeng awayin?

  6. It is like: “give me the land, and support me, or I’ll kill you…” Is this not a robbery or hold up? Those Muslims are terrorists. Land will always be the source of conflict. Look at the State of Israel. Or, other states, where they are a minority.

    If war comes to war; then, so be it. Sometimes, a good war leads to Peace. Nazi Germany’s Adolph Hitler, was appeassed in the same manner, before World War II. Then, he started ivading other countries; after being appeased.

    The BBL Law is a surrender of Aquino to the MILF/ISIS/Al Queda Terrorists.He also trying to fund them, with our tax payers’ money… Aquino is a Coward. He has no military experience.

    Look at how Aquino behaved, as China is building military facilities at Spartly Islands. Aquino goes to the UN and International Court. And, he hides behind the back of Uncle Sam, like a frightened child.

    1. You are god damn right they are terrorists, and they are being trained by ‘someone’ to wage war, when needed.Do you understand that?Do you know who that ‘someone’ is? and do you know where they may be needed to go? IF U DO, you are smarter than a lot of people in that country that do not understand that these dip-shits could be annihilated if the people who run the country,and their masters,wanted them to be annihilated. BUT THEY DO NOT WANT IT THAT WAY. They want a divided society, while the people at the top of that society steal everything! That, all while they, the thieves running the country, point the finger at everybody else and declare ‘THEM’ to be the enemy,instead of the three other fingers pointing back at them,the thieving politicians(and their master’s).GET IT?

      OMG!!! Will Filipino’s ever wake the fuck up?????

      1. also, these MILF and the rest of these trained ‘soldiers’ in Southern Mindanao keep ending up in places 1000’s of miles from home,dead or imprisoned or part of some ‘insurgency’….how the fuck does that happen?

        HHHHMMMM……. ANY CLUES? DUH !!!!!!!!

        I am almost……nah…aint gonna do it.Filipino’s do not like to hear the truth, they like fantasy…so everything is coming up roses in the springtime,yes? YIPPEE !!!!!

  7. Sounds nice. But there’s one problem with federalism: money. In a federation, every “state” has to procure its own budget. This is no prob if we are in NCR, for example, or Region IV. These regions make a lot of money just because they have large populations who pay taxes, and add to their established industries and businesses who do the same too. But if you go to poor regions, like ARMM and many others, then they are left to fend for themselves. Where are they gonna get money when have few people and businesses to pay taxes? That’s why the current system has
    a centralized system of gov. They’re supposed to distribute equally all the taxes earned. Poor regions get to have fairer share of money, supposed to be helpful for them. But then there’s corruption.

    1. the problem is napupunta sa NCR lahat then goes to the pockets of the corrupt (congress). ok naman kung put to good use eh pero corruption ang nangyayari. no problem sa mga mahihirap na LGUs they will be assisted by their neighbors or poor LGUs will be part of stronger states. pwede rin 3 states: luzon, visayas, mindanao. maraming combination yan.

      walang problem ang ARMM/Mindanao. sa kanila ang agriculture. in fact, Davao Region earned 2 billion dollars last year. they know their land: agriculture. unfortunately, 60% of the profit goes to malacanang (NCR) because of this unitary system then it goes to the pockets of corrupt people. then they’ll have deficits. then our tax increased to 32% to compensate the lost money. then goes again to the pockets of the corrupt. you see the wheel keeps turning. lol. why do we include the other LGUs in the corruption? federalize so they are separate from the stupidity of NCR and other tagalog lands. para magkaalaman na kung sino talaga ang may problema.

      don’t worry about mindanao they know what needs to be done there specially now that the passing of the economic amendment is near. once passed, mindanao wont have any problem attracting foreign investors. we in NCR will just focused on call centers and malls etc then dirt / prostitution, etc. we also have City of Dreams and MOA. LOL.

  8. I fully agree with federalism or balkanization. I’d prefer those two than a civil war, though I keep my option to a bloody civil war if it is really the only way.

  9. You cannot unite what is already fractured by geography, for geography defines destiny of its people.

    Not just federalize; Balkanize!

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