Rex Education is set to publish the first comprehensive law book that will tackle the details of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), including its interplay with the Philippine legal system.
Titled Moral Governance: An Introduction to the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the book will be published in collaboration with five distinguished lawyers and authors: Atty. Mohammad Muktadir Ahmad Estrella, Attorney VI, Chief of the Legal Services Division of the Civil Service Commission for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and senior lecturer at the University of the Philippines Manila and Notre Dame University College of Law; Atty. Joss Allen M. Pilapil, Partner at PALM Law; Atty. Jake Ogario Leoncini, Partner at PALM Law; Atty. Xavier Alexen R. Aseron, Partner at PALM Law; and Atty. Kevin Buen L. Marquez, Associate Solicitor at the Office of the Solicitor General.
The inspiration behind the title of the book came from the Vision and Mission of BARMM: “The Bangsamoro that is united, enlightened, self-governing, peaceful, just, morally upright, and progressive. Guided by moral governance and in pursuit of genuine and meaningful autonomy, the Bangsamoro Government ensures the necessary conditions for enduring peace and sustained socio-economic development suitable to the systems of life, needs, and aspirations of its people by providing services to communities, ensuring multi-stakeholder participation, and facilitating appropriate partnerships.”
To use the words of First and Interim Chief Minister Al-hajj Murad Ebrahim of BARMM and current chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in a news article: “If we cannot do it then our jihad has failed, I am pushing for a moral governance.”
In this sense, each official action taken by the Bangsamoro Government is interpreted in light of the code of Moral Governance within the framework of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. To fully serve both the letter and the spirit of the BOL, the Bangsamoro Government ensures that its actions are not only legal but are also moral. These moral truths are inspired by the virtues of Islam that are universal to humankind and customs and traditions of indigenous cultural communities in the region. This, in turn, highlights how inclusive the country is as a republican and democratic state envisioned in no less than the fundamental law of the land.
On the Bangsamoro Organic Law
The BOL is a landmark legislation that was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 26, 2018, abolishing ARMM and providing a regional government for the BARMM. Following a two-part plebiscite held in Mindanao, the establishment of BARMM was a revolutionary achievement after decades of conflict and peace talks between the Philippine government and several groups in Muslim Mindanao.
The BOL aims to bring peace by addressing the grievances, sentiments, and demands of Muslims in the region. It paved the way for 63 barangays in Cotabato and 9 of 22 towns in Lanao del Norte to join the newly created region. An Intergovernmental Relations Body was also created, composed of representatives from both the Bangsamoro government and central government, to hold the authority on the nine reserved powers for the central government, 57 exclusive powers for the Bangsamoro, and 14 concurrent powers for both.
Unfortunately, the law is fairly new, its ratification followed almost immediately by the challenges presented by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Thus, there is little literature that dives into the specifics of the BOL.
“This is a peace legislation that is aimed to bring just peace in Muslim Mindanao by addressing centuries worth of historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro. The Bangsamoro Government is the only parliamentary form of government in the Philippines. Thus, there is an existing need and interest to explain how a parliamentary set-up in an autonomous regional government works in a presidential form of national government within the parameters of the 1987 Philippine Constitution,” the authors share about the importance of the publishing of Moral Governance: An Introduction to the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
To aid students and practitioners of law, the book aims to introduce a unified understanding about the direct relationship between Bangsamoro history and existing legal mechanisms within the 1987 Philippine Constitution that recognize autonomy in Muslim Mindanao.
“In the current national social and political landscape, while there is general perception about the issues concerning the peace and order situation in Muslim Mindanao, there is little to almost non-existent understanding about how the Bangsamoro Organic Law directly addresses the root causes of the conflicts in the said region. It is high time that the rest of the nation finally understands that the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro were always justified by various legal instruments. Hence, it is also only by law that these wrongs may be justly corrected,” the authors add.
True to the advocacy of Rex Education, Moral Governance: An Introduction to the Bangsamoro Organic Law champions education on the Bangsamoro Organic Law. It seeks to promote continuous education and awareness in students and law practitioners about a landmark law that is set to change the country and its citizens.
Rex Education has always been on the forefront of lifelong learning, as seen in its comprehensive Edukampyon campaign. The goal of the advocacy is to inspire all schools, all teachers, and all partners in learning to become duty bearers and help shape whole Filipino learners who are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, challenged, and values-oriented.
The book is in production and is set to release in the second half of the year.
The contract signing for the book was held on February 18, 2021 at the Rex Knowledge Center. It was attended by the five authors and Rex Education executives: Atty. Dominador Buhain, Rex Group of Companies Chairman and President; Danda Crimelda Buhain, Chief External Affairs Officer; Reginald Soriano, General Manager; Franklin Benedict Guerra, National Sales Manager; Lee Anne Torno, Associate Manager for Talent Management; and Donna Bigay, Marketing Manager.
When the book is published, it will be available on Rex Book Stores nationwide and through the Rex E-store at https://www.rexestore.com.