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A Position Paper of the Municipality of Wao for the Purpose of Counting the

Result of the Plebiscite by Municipal Level and Not by Provincial Level Before
Becoming Part of the Geographical Area or Core Territory of Province of Lanao del
Sur in the Proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law based on the House Bill 4994 or
Senate Bill No. 2408 entitled AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE BASIC LAW FOR THE BANGSAMORO
AND ABOLISHING THE AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM MINDANAO, REPEALING FOR THE PURPOSE
REPUBLIC ACT 9054, ENTITLED AN ACT TO STRENGTHEN AND EXPAND THE ORGANIC ACT FOR THE
AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM MINDANAO, AND REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6734, ENTITLED AN ACT
PROVIDING FOR AN ORGANIC ACT FOR THE AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM MINDANAO, AND FOR
OTHER PURPOSES

I . Prologue

Wao is part of the resettlement area program by the late President His
Excellency Elpidio Quirino under Land Settlement Development Corporation
(LASEDECO), Executive Order No. 355 dated October 23, 1950 and under Republic
Act No. 1160 dated June 18, 1954 known as the National Resettlement and
Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) covering the municipalities of Maramag,
Pangantucan and Kalilangan in the province of Bukidnon; Wao in the province of
Lanao del Sur; Banisilan and Alamada in the Province of North Cotabato, a
contiguous area situated in Central Mindanao.
The settlers who were both Christians and Muslims were transported from
almost all parts of the country to Wao. They were accommodated and distributed
with farmlots and homelots, providing them farm equipments and supplies (SB
Resolution No. 28, June 9, 2014).

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Wao became part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in 1990


by virtue of Republic Act 6734 entitled AN ACT PROVIDING FOR AN ORGANIC
ACT FOR THE AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM MINDANAO. Wao being part
of the Province of Lanao del Sur was among the municipalities in the geographical
area of ARMM (www.sc.judiciary.com, 2014).
Wao is a minority among the 39 Muslim dominated municipalities in the
whole Province of Lanao del Sur. Its population is composed of 83% Christian and
17% Muslim among the more or less 35, 000 voters (Wao Profile, 2010) gaining
the most populated municipality in the province.
Wao is the most progressive among the 39 municipalities. It garnered the
Galing Pook Award and Seal of Good Housekeeping from 2010, 2011, 2012 and
2013.
Wao belied the claim of the Philippine Government that ARMM is a failure.
Wao indeed proved that failure in ARMM, Wao is an exception.
In 2013, through the television, the people of Wao were informed of a new
form of governance aside from ARMM. The Local Government Unit of Wao was
not informed nor consulted by the Philippine Government in a way this new form
of governance is to operate. The only thing which is certain to happen would be
that Wao shall be one of those subjects for the new form of governance which is
now known as the Bangsamoro Entity.

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II.

Statement of Facts and Case

Sometime in 2013, we were invited to attend a forum held in Adiong


Gymnasium in Wao, Lanao del Sur on Bangsamoro. It was attended by a number
of people and local officials.
On January to February 2014, a manifesto entitled A MANIFESTO APPEALING TO
HONORABLE SENATOR FRANKLIN DRILON, PRESIDENT, HOUSE OF THE SENATE, THRU
HONORABLE SENATOR FERDINAND ROMUALDEZ MARCOS, JR., CHAIR, COMMITTEE ON LOCAL
GOVERNMENT TO EXCLUDE THE MUNICIPALITY OF WAO, LANAO DEL SUR, ARMM FROM THE
BANGSAMORO ENTITY was sent to the senators.

On March 27, 2014, a mass rally initiated by a non government organization,


LIHOK-WAO based in Wao was held in Magsaysay Park protesting the inclusion of
Wao from the Bangsamoro Entity as proposed by the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)
(www.sunstar.com.ph, 2014).
We want Wao to be excluded because we find the manner of the plebiscite
oppressive. The plebiscite result in Wao in 1990 and 2001 were based on the
majority votes within the Province of Lanao del Sur defeating our NO to be
excluded in ARMM.
The protest called for the government to inform the public of its right to be
informed on matters directly affecting Wao in the proposed BBL.
On April 21, 2014, the Bangsamoro Transition Committee came to Wao and
conducted a Public Forum which was attended and participated by more or less
20,000 people who were able to voice out their sentiments on exclusion.
On June 9, 2014 the Sangguniang Bayan of Wao created a Resolution No. 28
assenting to the Association of Barangay Chairmen (ABC) Resolution No. 15 dated
May 8, 2014 entitled APPEALING TO THE CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES TO
EXCLUDE THE MUNICIPALITY OF WAO, PROVINCE OF LANAO DEL SUR,
AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM MINDANAO, FROM THE PROPOSED
BANGSAMORO ENTITY.
Sometime in September 2014, we sent a letter and manifesto appealing for
our exclusion from the Bangsamoro Entity as proposed by the BBL to the Office of
the Speaker of the Senate and Office of the Speaker of the House of
Representatives. We received a reply acknowledging only the receipt of our letter
and forwarding our concern to the committee designated to attend the issue on
Bangsamoro Basic Law.

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We felt unheard but never felt defeated in this cause.


On October 6, 2014, the Office of the Mayor, Hon. Elvino B. Balicao, Jr.
received an email from the Office of Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Chairman
of the Committee on local Government inviting the Local Government of Wao for
a Public Hearing on October 22, 2014 in Marawi City. The Office of the Mayor of
Wao replied that we could not attend the Public Hearing due to our geographical
location that we are far from Marawi City and also due to security reasons.
On October 13, 2014, a letter addressed to Mayor Balicao, Jr. thru LBC was
received from the Office of the Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. dated October 8,
2014 stating therein a Public Hearing on October 22, 2014 in Marawi City to
discuss House Bill 4994 or Senate Bill No. 2408, entitled AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE
BASIC LAW FOR THE BANGSAMORO AND ABOLISHING THE AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM
MINDANAO, REPEALING FOR THE PURPOSE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9054, ENTITLED AN ACT TO
STRENGHTEN AND EXPAND THE ORGANIC ACT FOR THE AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM
MINDANAO, AND REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6734, ENTITLED AN ACT PROVIDING FOR AN ORGANIC
ACT FOR THE AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM MINDANAO AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. It

further stated a request to provide the Committee with a position paper on the
said bill at the website www.senate.gov.ph or www.congress.com.ph, the reason
why this position paper was made.
Upon the reference of House Bill 4994 or Senate Bill No. 2408 thru the website
on October 13, 2014, among the several provisions which we would like to discuss
but as we were pressed by time, we find the BBLs provision on Article XV, Section
1 and Section 1(a) entitled PLEBISCITE, most important to rebut and protest in
relation to the Core Territory in Article III, Section 2 of the proposed BBL.

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III.

Issue

Whether the plebiscite in the absence of directly asking the Municipality of


Wao in favor or not in favor to join in the Bangsamoro Entity as one of the
core territory as proposed in the BBL reflective of the will of the people of
Wao by majority votes in the lone Municipality of Wao is within the bounds
of the law and rule of democracy?

IV.

Arguments and Discussions

Plebiscite is defined as a direct vote in which the entire electorate is invited to


accept or refuse a proposal. It is a vote in which a population exercises the right of
national self-determination (http://www.yourdictionary.com/plebiscite).
Core Territory or geographical area in Philippine jurisprudence in the creation
of ARMM as clusters of contiguous-Muslim-dominated municipalities voting in
favor of autonomy be merged and constituted into a new province(s) which shall
become part of the new Autonomous Region(G.R. No. 79956 January 29, 1990,
CORDILLERA vs. COA).
We find that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law is not fitted by circumstance
when applied in the Municipality of Wao.
The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Article XV, Section 1, Section 1(a)
and Sec. 3 states:
Section 1. Establishment of the Bangsamoro. - (1) The establishment of the Bangsamoro
and the determination of the Bangsamoro territory shall take effect upon ratification of this
Basic Law by majority of the votes cast in the following provinces, cities, and geographical areas
in a plebiscite conducted for the purpose:

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a. The present geographical area of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao


(ARMM);
xxx
Section 3. Results of the Plebiscite. - (a) For the present geographic area of the ARMM: if the
majority of the registered voters in each province and city vote in favor of the Bangsamoro
Basic law (BBl), the respective provinces and cities shall be included in the Bangsamoro.

To state Article III, Sec. 2 and Sec.2 (a) in relation to Article XV of the
proposed BBL:
Section 2. Core Territory - The core territory of the Bangsamoro shall be composed of:
a. the present geographical area of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao;.

We find these provisions not consistent with what the Congress intended
that the proposed BBL provisions shall be consistent with the Constitution and in
accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 7160, the Local Government
Code of 1991.
We ask the honorable committee to consider our arguments, to wit:

In Article XV, Sec. 1 of the proposed BBL, each province in favor of the Bangsamoro
Basic Law supposedly should indicate specifically the carving out of the

Municipality of Wao in the Province of Lanao del Sur purposely for the plebiscite
of Wao alone.

We strongly suggest that it shall be read as:


in each province, city and municipality in the Province of Lanao del Sur which plebiscite
result would determine if it shall remain or not in the core territory.

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Or should read as:


For the Municipality of Wao in the Province of Lanao del Sur: If the majority of the registered
voters in this municipality vote in favor of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the respective
municipality shall be included in the Bangsamoro.

To include the Municipality of Wao by automatic adoption of the


geographical area of ARMM without directly asking the vote of the people on the
proposed BBL will result to injustice on our basic rights.
Wao deserves to be treated as an exception amongst the place in the
autonomy. Let Wao be heard and be given the voice it has long been suppressed
by political boundaries.
In Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution applying the jurisprudence
in Tan v. COMELEC, 142 SCRA 727 (1986), states that those who are directly
affected by the creation of a new territory should participate in the plebiscite.
Also Article X of the 1987 Constitution provides:
AUTONOMOUS REGIONS chanrobles virtual law library
Sec. 15. There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras
consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas sharing common and
distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant
characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as
territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.ch
anrobles

To state paragraph 2, Sec. 18, Article X of the 1987 Constitution,

rles virtual law library

The creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved by majority of the
votes cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the purpose, provided that only
provinces, cities, and geographic areas voting favorably in such plebiscite shall be included in
the autonomous region.

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V.

Prayer

Your honor, to all the members of the committee, Wao should be directly
asked in the plebiscite vote favoring or not to join the Bangsamoro Entity. Wao
should not be part of the automatic core territory of the Bangsamoro Entity as
stated in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Bangsamoro Entity is a new form of governance and totally different from
ARMM. Therefore we must be given the right to participate vested on us by the
1987 Constitution through a plebiscite as a lone Municipality of Wao.
Your honor, we are now given the right avenue and the perfect time to
invoke our right for self determination thru the plebiscite as a minority group in
the Province of Lanao del Sur. We want that Wao shall be asked in the plebiscite
before becoming part of the core territory and that its vote should not be
consolidated with the Province of Lanao del Sur.
Wao should join or not join the Bangsamoro Entity based on the spirit of
Sec. 15, Article X of the 1987 Constitution that in autonomy exists sharing
common and distinctive historical and cultural background, economic and social
structures...within the framework of the Constitution.
The philosophy behind this is that as a minority group in Lanao del Sur our
chance to say NO when asked whether or not we want to join the Bangsamoro
Entity be overwhelmed by the majority votes of the other 38 municipalities who
are in favor to join the Bangsamoro Entity. This has happened in 1990 election on
the plebiscite on R.A. 6734 and in 2001 of R. A. 9054 plebiscite. The effect was not
reflective of the true intention of the law. The peoples vote was more of a

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mechanical in character and for compliance purposes, defeating the true


intention of the law.
To the honorable committee, we are Christians, Non Muslims or Lumads and
Muslim settlers in a land not developed and undisputedly unpopulated upon the
arrival of settlers upon the start of resettlement era. There were no histories of
driving away Muslims by land grabbing before occupying the land of Wao as
claimed and stated in http://armm.gov.ph/history/ (2014).
We rest our case in your hands and awaits the most just and humane result
of our prayer and appeal by the grace of the Almighty.

Done this October 16, 2014, in Wao Lanao del Sur, Philippines.

For the majority people of Wao,

HON. ELVINO B. BALICAO, JR.


Municipal Mayor of Wao
Province of Lanao del Sur
Philippines

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