Autonomous regions of the Philippines

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An autonomous region of the Philippines (Filipino: Rehiyong awtonomo ng Pilipinas) is a first-level administrative division and it has the authority to control the region's culture and economy. It is a minority entity that has a higher population of a particular minority ethnic group. The Constitution of the Philippines allows for two autonomous regions: for Cordilleras and Muslim Mindanao.

Current autonomous regions[edit]

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao[edit]

Ph locator barmm.svg

On October 15, 2012,[1] a preliminary agreement was signed by the Government of the Philippines' chief negotiator Marvic Leonen, MILF Peace Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal and Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed along with President Aquino, Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia, MILF chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim and Secretary-General Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation at Malacañang Palace in Manila.[2][3][4]

It replaced the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region was formed after voters decided to ratify the Republic Act no. 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law in a January 21 plebiscite. The ratification was announced on January 25, 2019, by the Commission on Elections.[5][6][7] This marks the beginning of the transition of the ARMM to the BARMM.

Former autonomous region[edit]

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao[edit]

Ph locator armm.svg

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was proposed in 1976 during the Ferdinand Marcos administration and created on August 1, 1989 through Republic Act No. 6734 (otherwise known as the Organic Act) in pursuance with a constitutional mandate. In 2012 President Benigno Aquino III described ARMM as a "failed experiment". He proposed an autonomous region named Bangsamoro to replace ARMM with the agreement between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

A plebiscite was held in the provinces of Basilan, Cotabato, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Palawan, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur; and in the cities of Cotabato, Davao, Dapitan, Dipolog, General Santos, Koronadal, Iligan, Marawi, Pagadian, Puerto Princesa and Zamboanga to determine if their residents wished to be part of the ARMM. Of these areas, only four provinces (Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi) voted in favor of inclusion in the new autonomous region. The ARMM was officially inaugurated on November 6, 1990 in Cotabato City, which was designated as its provisional capital.

Proposed autonomous regions[edit]


The Cordillera Administrative Region administers the area that was designated for an autonomous region. Two plebiscites were held in the Cordilleras, the latest in 1998, to create an autonomous region and both failed. There continues to be bills filed in the Philippine Congress to establish an autonomous region in the Cordilleras but none of the efforts have succeeded.[8]

Metro Manila[edit]

It was proposed that the National Capital Region or Metro Manila be converted to an autonomous region. Metro Manila is governed by the mayors of its 16 cities and solitary municipality with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority serving as an advisory body to the local government units of the metropolis. Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista has advocated for a Metro Manila autonomous region as an alternative to President Rodrigo's campaign to shift the system of national government to federalism which would render Metro Manila as an independent federal state within the Philippines.[9]

Proposed Term[edit]

Some lawmakers have proposed the usage of "Autonomous Community" instead of "Autonomous Region" as the term "autonomous region" has garnered negative sentiments from many ethnic peoples.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Calonzo, Andreo (October 7, 2012). "Govt, MILF agree to create 'Bangsamoro' to replace ARMM". GMA News. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  2. ^ "Framework Agreement of the Bangsamoro" (PDF). Government of the Philippines. October 20, 2012. Retrieved May 2015. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ "Gov't, MILF seal preliminary peace pact". October 15, 2012. Retrieved May 2015. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ Regencia, Ted (March 25, 2014). "Philippines prepares for historic peace deal". Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  5. ^ Depasupil, William; TMT; Reyes, Dempsey (January 23, 2019). "'Yes' vote prevails in 4 of 5 provinces". The Manila Times. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  6. ^ Galvez, Daphne (January 22, 2019). "Zubiri: Overwhelming 'yes' vote for BOL shows Mindanao shedding its history of conflict". Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  7. ^ Esguerra, Christian V. (January 25, 2019). "New era dawns for Bangsamoro as stronger autonomy law ratified". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  8. ^ "Cordillera Solons expressed views on regional autonomy". National Economic and Development Authority - Cordillera Administrative Region. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  9. ^ "QC mayor Bautista seeks 'independent Metro Manila state'". Rappler. 17 August 2017. Archived from the original on 31 August 2017. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  10. ^ Barahan, Ed Margareth (February 22, 2017). "Solon vows to introduce clause to guarantee PH territorial integrity". Retrieved 2019-02-24.