Bangsamoro Organic Law

In Bangsamoro visit, Marcos warns of ‘those who preach ideology of dismemberment’

Dwight de Leon

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In Bangsamoro visit, Marcos warns of ‘those who preach ideology of dismemberment’

File photo of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

Noel Pabalate/PPA Pool

Marcos also assures Bangsamoro residents of an orderly and credible election in 2025, the first time that the region will choose its parliamentary leaders since the formation of BARMM

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued a warning against separatism advocates during his visit to Maguindanao del Norte for the 10th anniversary commemoration of a landmark peace deal on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“As we defend the gains that we have achieved, we will be vigilant against the enemies of peace. We will bear the full force of the state against terrorist elements, to those who preach the discarded and debunked ideology of dismemberment. The people will reject your selfish agenda,” Marcos said in a speech on Monday, April 29.

The statement comes months after former president Rodrigo Duterte and his allies floated the possibility of a separate Mindanao, although that call garnered little support among leaders in the region. Marcos’ predecessor later said he was just joking.

Peace-building in southern Philippines, particularly in the Bangsamoro, has been a decades-long journey, hampered by the proliferation of insurgency movements.

In 2014, the Philippine government under the administration of the late Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), compelling the latter to surrender its firearms and decommission its armed wing in exchange for the establishment of an autonomous Bangsamoro.

In 2018, the Duterte administration passed the Bangsamoro Organic Law, paving the way for an interim parliament who were supposed to be replaced by an elected set of officers in 2022. The coronavirus pandemic, as well as the absence of a Bangsamoro electoral code, delayed the first parliamentary polls in the BARMM to 2025.

In his speech, Marcos assured residents of the region of an “honest, orderly, and credible conduct of the electoral process.”

“Let this also serve as a warning to those who may plan to threaten and derail this upcoming election.  Don’t think about that anymore because your enemy is the government,” he said.

“Instead, channel your energy to help build productive and thriving communities where citizens are offered wide livelihood opportunities and healthy living spaces,” Marcos added.

Some civil society groups have called for another three-year extension for the Bangsamoro Transition Authority due to supposed unimplemented provisions of the CAB, but Marcos is not keen on the idea, according to Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez. –

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.