Atty Michael Mastura and President Duterte

TURNING OVER. Atty. Michael O. Mastura, President and TWG Chairman of the All Moro Convention (AMC), finally turns over the draft of the proposed Bangsamoro State Constitution to President Rodrigo Duterte, during the Eid’l Fitr celebration last Saturday at SMX Convention, Davao City. (MinDA)


DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte received a draft of the proposed Bangsamoro State Constitution (BSC) from the President of the All Moro Convention (AMC), Atty. Datu Michael O. Mastura, during the Eid’l Fitr celebration last Saturday held at SMX Convention, Davao City.

The BSC is anchored on all the agreements signed between the Philippine Government and the two Moro Fronts. BSC was crafted by the Technical Working Group of the AMC chaired by its principal author and president, Atty. Datu Michael O. Mastura -1971 Constitutional Convention delegate, former Congressman, Senior Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Member to the GPH-MILF Peace Negotiating Panel in all of its 17 years of peace negotiations, responsible for the codification of Muslim Personal Laws in the country, author/sponsor of the law of Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines among other pertinent laws of the Land benefitting Muslims, and a descendant of Sultan Muhammad Depertuan Qudratullah aka Sultan Kudarat; Ambassador Akmad Sacam- AMC’s 1st President-Pro Tempore, former Philippine ambassador to Iraq, Bahrain, Sultanate State of Oman, and now newly confirmed by the Joint Commission on Appointments of the Philippine Congress as Ambassador to Jordan with concurrent jurisdiction of Palestine, member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) from 2013-2016, and a lawyer; Datu Robert M. Alonto- a scholar, writer, political scientist, former Head of the Moro National Liberation Front- Northern Mindanao Revolutionary Command(MNLF-NMRC)Political/Propaganda Committee, member of the MILF Central Committee, MILF peace panel member in all the 17 years GPH-MILF peace negotiations, and former BTC Vice-Chairman (2013-2016); Judge Mylene Amerol-Macumbal- AMC’s 2nd President Pro-Tempore, first Moro Lady Philippine Bar topnotcher of 2007, former associate lawyer of the Angara Abello Concepcion Regala and Cruz (ACCRA) Law Office, former court attorney of the Court of Appeals-Mindanao Station, professional lecturer at the College of Law of Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, currently the presiding judge of the 6th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tubod-Baroy-Magsaysay of Lanao del Norte of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA); Maharlika Alonto- CPA, Philippine’s foremost authority on Islamic banking and finance, graduate at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, and the University of the Philippines; Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo- currently the UN Senior Advisor on Political Transitions, former Executive Secretary in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), consultant and resource person for the Philippine government as well as NGOs and INGOs; Atty. Hanan Romanda-Kahalan- CPA, practicing corporate lawyer, daughter of Aleem Abdulrahman Romanda, who was with the pioneering leaders of the Moro Malay Muslim Movement in Cairo, Egypt and member of the MNLF Central Committee; Amilpasa T. Bandaying - member of the Original MNLF 90, member of the MNLF Central Committee, former Regional Assemblyman of the Autonomous Government of Region (RAG) IX, former Speaker Pro Tempore of RAG IX, member of the Commission on the Regional Consultative Commission (RCC) and former director for Region IX of the Office of Muslim Affairs (OMA) now National Commission on the Muslim Filipinos (NCMF); Atty. Ishak Mastura - now on his 3rd stint as the Chairman and Managing Head of the Regional Board of Investment of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-ARMM), former Executive Secretary and longest serving Regional Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry of the ARMM (2002-2008), a graduate of Ateneo de Manila for both his degree in Management and his Juris Doctor; Datu Ismail Mastura, a former Vice-Governor of Maguindanao and academician; Atty. Mary Ann Arnado - a law practitioner and a consultant to local as well as international peace advocate groups, and staunch advocate of federalism and the rights of the Indigenous People (IP); Atty. Abdul Ghaffur Madki Howard Alonto II- AMC’s Floor Leader, prosecutor of the Department of Justice in the City of Iligan, professional lecturer for the College of Law of Mindanao State University in Marawi City and MSU- Iligan Institute of Technology, a fellow of the Mindanao Bridging Leaders Program of the Asian Institute of Management, and a Commerce graduate of De La Salle University; Atty. Nazir Ynawat – AMC’s Floor Leader, a former assemblyman of the 2nd District of Sulu to the ARMM- Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA), professor of Constitutional Law, practicing lawyer and descendant of Hadji Kamlon; Edgar Bullecer – CEO and Managing Trustee of Paglas Group International, expert on banana plantations, expert on bringing in foreign investments, and CPA; Salioban Blah, one of the longest serving state auditor of the Commission on Audit (1978-2013); Bai Norhata Alonto – AMC’s Head of the Secretariat, scholar, motivational speaker, advocate of the Bangsamoro Cause as well as federalism along with Women’s Rights, Regional Governor of the National Council of Women in the Philippines (NCWP), former President Assistant on Muslim Affairs and former Commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Urban Poor; Dr. Amor Pendaliday, ARMM-CHED Commissioner; and Ruhollah Al-Husseini J. Alonto, AMC’s Technical Supervisor, historian and a writer.

In his opening message, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Datu Hj. Abul Khayr D. Alonto emphasized that the crafting of BSC took a long stride before it can be handed over to the President.

Prior to the submission of the draft, the AMC core group members convened last June 02, 2018 to sign the draft of Bangsamoro State Constitution.

“It took a year to formulate, discuss, research, study and bring some consensus among a broad coalition of Moro professionals and experts from different ethnic groups, including Christian residents in the Bangsamoro,” Alonto said.

The BSC is a consolidation of inputs of other sectors in the Bangsamoro that will advance their quest to resolve the deeply-rooted historical injustices. It is not, in any way, contradictory to the Mindanao Peace Process. In fact, it is an all-inclusive convergence of platform in bringing all the Revolutionary Fronts and the Bangsamoro to the national discourse on Federalism and a bold move to once and for all, with the first Moro President, Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte spearheading, to put a closure to the Mindanao War with the immediate systemic shift to the federal parliamentary form of government.

MinDA, by virtue of RA 9996, is mandated to provide strategic direction for Mindanao that is parallel with the national government’s initiatives on peace and development for the island.

Under the leadership of Alonto, its first Muslim Chair, MinDA takes federalism as the main policy advocacy of the agency under President Duterte’s Administration. In Secretary Alonto’s words: “Federalism is the very soul of the Duterte Administration”.

“The time for federalism has come to our country. We have to move away from the style of unitary form of government, which has been in existence and set-up by the Spaniards. For a time, it was good because we were still developing as a nation back then, but it did not mind the struggles of the Moros and (the) Christians” Duterte said before his Muslim brothers and sisters, few of the members of his Cabinet, the Diplomatic Community, Leaders from both the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippine Congress, Leaders from the military establishment as referred to by Secretary Alonto in his welcome address as, “the patriotic officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines headed by the Chief of Staff, General Galvez and in the presence of Secretary of National Defense Lorenzana, the companion of President Duterte in the liberation of Marawi City.”, and other government, religious and civil society leaders, as he graced the end of Holy month of Ramadhan.

In order to operationalize the vision of the President, MinDA created the AMC, as an inclusive platform that will enable various sectors in the Bangsamoro to come up with proposed solutions and ensure its participation in the national discourse of federalism, while they exercise self-determination and meaningful autonomy.

Now that the draft has been submitted to the President for his consideration, and MinDA has scheduled series of simultaneous public consultations and roadshows in the coming months in various regions that will include the IP communities.

In time, a similar draft of the State Constitutions for the State of South Central Mindanao, the State of Northern Mindanao, the State of Western Mindanao, and the State of Palawan will (also) be submitted. Within those State Constitutions, the concerns and participation of the IP communities will be properly addressed with equity, fairness, and justice.

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