Quest for lasting peace (9)
THE Bangsamoro Juridical Entity territory embraced the regions of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan and is composed of the local government units listed in Annexes “A” and “B” of the MOA-AD. This territory supposedly consisted of “communal and customary lands, maritime, fluvial and alluvial domains, the aerial domain, the air space above and natural resources.”
This territory is the homeland of the Bangsamoro people.
Ownership is exclusively vested in them “(b)y virtue of their prior rights of occupation…since time immemorial…as the first politically dominant occupants.”
And here is the brazen MOA-AD declaration that eventually sparked sharp opposition the nation over: This territory DOES NOT…form part of the public domain of the Republic of the Philippines under Art. XII, Section 2 of the Constitution and which belongs to the Philippines pursuant to the Regalian doctrine.
The MOA-AD further declared that the owners of the ancestral domain, the Bangsamoro people, organized as the BJE, have jurisdiction over the development, utilization and disposition of all natural resources of the internal waters which extend from the coastline of the BJE up to 15 kilometers of the baselines of the Philippines.
Insofar as the mineral resources of the territorial sea extending beyond the baselines, the BJE’s authority and jurisdiction is concurrent or joint with that of the Philippine Government.
The profit division out of production was to be shared between the BJE and the government on a 75:25 ratio, but in favor of the BJE “as the party having control within its territorial jurisdiction.”
Then came the other controversial declaration in the MOA-AD, thus: the Philippine Government undertook “(t)o conduct and deliver, using all possible legal measures,” a plebiscite in the Bangsamoro territory within 12 months after the signing of the MOA for the approval of an enlarged territory consisting of the present ARMM and the additional local government units listed in Annexes “A” and “B” of the MOA.”
This provision was interpreted by hardcore oppositors to mean that the Philippine Government obliged itself to amend the organic act of the ARMM and, if necessary (it would have been!), to amend the Philippine Constitution to suit the MOA.
The MOA-AD recognized the right of the Bangsamoro people to ‘self-governance’ based on ancestral territoriality, exercised by them as protectorates of the sultanates and the “Pat a Pagampong ku Ranaw” which had the attributes of modern nation states. (TO BE CONTINUED)