Egalitarian | Federalism and the Bangsamoro State Constitution

THE RECENT ceremonial signing of the All Moro Convention last Jun. 2, 2018 at the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) conference room is another wonderful story for Mindanao.There is an evident alignment of advocacies and programs happening in the country: the national agenda of PRRD’s on federalism, MinDA takes federalism as major policy advocacy, and the proposal of the All Moro Convention, the Bangsamoro State Constitution.

The Bangsamoros actively participate in the articulation of federalism, and this is totally inspiring. We are all on the same page for what we want in Mindanao. Under the leadership of Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto, various groups and leaders were tapped to exhaust ideas and proposals that are reflective of the true needs of Mindanao.

So where does the Bangsamoro State Constitution locate itself with federalism initiative of President Duterte, the BBL and the Constitutional Committee? The Bangsamoro State Constitution must be viewed for what its intention, a proposal richly made with the experience and expertise of seasoned legislators and Bangsamoro leaders.

It is an alternative source of information for the in the effort to make the shift to a federal republic as inclusive as possible. In making this country a federal, there is not but one document, not one group that holds monopoly. This is very important and every individual is a source of ideals. of ideas, and so therefore, for us to be united and moving into a similar direction is to also tap other groups who are as much sources of deep love, conviction and commitment to ensure the future of Mindanao. And for what it serves, it is ceremonial and therefore it raises the consciousness of ownership and accountability.

Under the leadership of Secretary Alonto, MinDA provides a venue where all Mindanawons can express themselves. One strong evidence is the crafting of the Bangsamoro State Constitution which contains expressions, hopes, dreams and visions of a good future for Mindanao. It is a proposal which they wanted to be presented to President Rodrigo R. Duterte, and hopefully will be used as reference in the crafting of the new Constitution. Meantime, it being a proposal, it has to be presented first to the President before it is made public. This is more appropriate than making the document public without the right people reading them first, at any rate, there is no exclusivity of commitment of proposal, there are just prioritization.

The more State constitutions are produced, all the better for the pursuit of federalism. When this country becomes federal, there is only but one Federal Constitution, but there could be more State Constitutions. This is consistent with the principle of asymmetric shift to federal. The State Constitutions are the Basic Laws within the territory of the State within the Republic.  So, the exercise of facilitating crafting proposals for the State is but consistent with the objectives of inclusivity and identity.

Cleary, this is a barometer of public interest on the shift to become federal. What will these all make us? These will make us more informed, participative, sensitive and accountable individuals as we claim a Mindanao future far better than today.

Adrian Tamayo is currently working with the Mindanao Development Authority. He joined the agency in his desire to participate and contribute to this country’s shift to Federal Republic of the Philippines.

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