|FULL TEXT OF THE DRAFT MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT ON ANCESTRAL DOMAIN
|| PDF File
In the name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain Aspect of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001
The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) herein referred to as the “Parties” to this Agreement.
TERMS OF REFERENCE
The Agreement for General Cessation of Hostilities dated July 18, 1997 Between the GRP and the MILF, and its Implementing Administrative and Operational Guidelines;
The General Framework of Agreement of Intent Between the GRP and the MILF dated
The Agreement on the General Framework for the Resumption of Peace Talks Between
the GRP and the MILF dated March 24, 2001;
The Tripoli Agreement on Peace Between the GRP and the MILF dated June 22, 2001;
The Tripoli Agreement Between the GRP and the Moro National Liberation Front
(MNLF) dated December 23, 1976 and the Final Agreement on the Implementation of
the 1976 Tripoli Agreement Between the GRP and the MNLF dated September 2, 1996;
Republic Act No. 6734, as amended by R.A. 9054, otherwise known as “An Act to
Strengthen and Expand the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)”;
ILO Convention No. 169, in correlation to the UN Declaration on the Rights of the
Indigenous Peoples, and Republic Act No. 8371 otherwise known as the Indigenous
Peoples Rights Act of 1997, the UN Charter, the UN Universal Declaration on Human
Rights, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and internationally recognized human
Compact rights entrenchment emanating from the regime of dar-ul-mua’hada (or
territory under compact) and dar-ul-sulh (or territory under peace agreement) that
partakes the nature of a treaty device. For the purpose of this Agreement, a “treaty” is
defined as any solemn agreement in writing that sets out understandings, obligations,
and benefits for both parties which provides for a framework that elaborates the
principles declared in the Agreement.
HAVE AGREED AND ACKNOWLEDGED AS FOLLOWS:
CONCEPTS AND PRINCIPLES
1. It is the birthright of all Moros and all Indigenous peoples of Mindanao to identify
themselves and be accepted as “Bangsamoros”. The Bangsamoro people refers to
those who are natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and its adjacent islands
including Palawan and the Sulu archipelago at the time of conquest or colonization
and their descendants whether mixed or of full native blood. Spouses and their
descendants are classified as Bangsamoro. The freedom of choice of the
Indigenous people shall be respected.
2. It is essential to lay the foundation of the Bangsamoro homeland in order to address
the Bangsamoro people’s humanitarian and economic needs as well as their political
aspirations. Such territorial jurisdictions and geographic areas being the natural
wealth and patrimony represent the social, cultural and political identity and pride of
all the Bangsamoro people. Ownership of the homeland is vested exclusively in
them by virtue of their prior rights of occupation that had inhered in them as sizeable
bodies of people, delimited by their ancestors since time immemorial, and being the
first politically organized dominant occupants.
3. Both Parties acknowledge that ancestral domain does not form part of the public
domain but encompasses ancestral, communal, and customary lands, maritime,
fluvial and alluvial domains as well as all natural resources therein that have inured
or vested ancestral rights on the basis of native title. Ancestral domain and ancestral
land refer to those held under claim of ownership, occupied or possessed, by
themselves or through the ancestors of the Bangsamoro people, communally or
individually since time immemorial continuously to the present, except when
prevented by war, civil disturbance, force majeure, or other forms of possible
usurpation or displacement by force, deceit, stealth, or as a consequence of
government project or any other voluntary dealings entered into by the government
and private individuals, corporate entities or institutions.
4. Both Parties acknowledge that the right to self-governance of the Bangsamoro
people is rooted on ancestral territoriality exercised originally under the suzerain
authority of their sultanates and the Pat a Pangampong ku Ranaw. The Moro
sultanates were states or karajaan/kadatuan resembling a body politic endowed with
all the elements of nation-state in the modern sense. As a domestic community
distinct from the rest of the national communities, they have a definite historic
homeland. They are the “First Nation” with defined territory and with a system of
government having entered into treaties of amity and commerce with foreign nations.
The Parties concede that the ultimate objective of entrenching the Bangsamoro
homeland as a territorial space is to secure their identity and posterity, to protect
their property rights and resources as well as to establish a system of governance
suitable and acceptable to them as a distinct dominant people.
5. Both Parties affirm their commitment to mutually respect the right to one’s identity
and the parity of esteem of everyone in the political community. The protection of
civil rights and religious liberties of individuals underlie the basis of peace and justice
of their totality of relationships.
6. Both Parties agree that the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) shall have the
authority and jurisdiction over the Ancestral Domain and Ancestral lands, including
both alienable and non-alienable lands encompassed within their homeland and
ancestral territory, as well as the delineation of ancestral domain/lands of the
Bangsamoro people located therein.
7. Vested property rights upon the entrenchment of the BJE shall be recognized and
respected subject to paragraph 9 of the strand on Resources.
1. The Bangsamoro homeland and historic territory refer to the land mass as well as
the maritime, terrestrial, fluvial and alluvial domains, and the aerial domain, the
atmospheric space above it, embracing the Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan geographic
region. However, delimitations are contained in the agreed Schedules (Categories).
2. Toward this end, the Parties enter into the following stipulations:
a. The GRP and MILF as the Parties to this Agreement commit themselves to the
full and mutual implementation of this framework agreement on territory with the
aim of resolving outstanding issues that emanate from the consensus points on
b. The Parties confirm their understanding that the mutual goal of reaching an
agreement on Bangsamoro territory specific to mapping the outlying borders and
the boundaries affecting local government units will lead to consolidation of the
agreed texts on the Ancestral Domain Strands.
c. The Parties affirm that the core of the BJE shall constitute the present
geographic area of the ARMM, including the municipalities of Baloi, Munai,
Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte that
voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite.
d. Without derogating from the requirements of prior agreements, the Government
stipulates to conduct and deliver, using all possible legal measures, within twelve
(12) months following the signing of the MOA-AD, a plebiscite covering the areas
as enumerated in the list and depicted in the map as Category A attached herein
(the “Annex”). The Annex constitutes an integral part of this framework
agreement. Toward this end, the Parties shall endeavor to complete the
negotiations and resolve all outstanding issues on the Comprehensive Compact
within fifteen (15) months from the signing of the MOA-AD.
e. The areas covered by Category B are reflected on a map and list attached herein
as agreed to by the Parties. Category B (the "Special Intervention Areas") refers
to conflict affected areas outside the BJE which shall be the subject of special
socio-economic and cultural affirmative action implemented by the Central
Government pending the conduct of a plebiscite not earlier than twenty-five (25)
years from the signing of the Comprehensive Compact to determine the question
of their accession to the BJE. The areas reflected are subject to further
negotiations by the Parties. The Annex constitutes an integral part of this
f. Internal Waters:
The BJE shall have jurisdiction over the management, conservation,
development, protection, utilization and disposition of all natural resources, living
and non-living, within its internal waters extending fifteen (15) kilometers from the
coastline of the BJE area.
g. Territorial Waters:
(1) The territorial waters of the BJE shall stretch beyond the BJE internal
waters up to the Republic of the Philippines (RP) baselines south east and
south west of mainland Mindanao. Beyond the fifteen (15) kilometers
internal waters, the Central Government and the BJE shall exercise joint
jurisdiction, authority and management over areas and all natural resources,
living and non-living contained therein. The details of such management of
the Territorial Waters shall be provided in an agreement to be entered into
by the Parties.
(2) The boundaries of the territorial waters shall stretch beyond the 15-km.
BJE internal waters up to the Central Government’s baselines under
existing laws. In the southern and eastern part of the BJE, it shall be
demarcated by a line drawn from the Maguling Point, Palimbang, Province
of Sultan Kudarat up to the straight baselines of the Philippines. On the
northwestern part, it shall be demarcated by a line drawn from Little Sta.
Cruz Island, Zamboanga City, up to Naris Point, Bataraza, Palawan. On the
western part of Palawan, it shall be demarcated by a line drawn from the
boundary of Bataraza and Rizal up to the straight baselines of the
The final demarcation shall be determined by a joint technical body
composed of duly-designated representatives of both Parties, in
coordination with the appropriate Central Government agency in
accordance with the above guidelines.
h. Sharing of Minerals on Territorial Waters:
Consistent with paragraphs 5 and 6 of the provisions on Resources, all potential
sources of energy, petroleum in situ, hydrocarbon, natural gas and other
minerals, including deposits or fields found within the territorial waters, shall be
shared between the Central Government and the BJE in favor of the latter
through production sharing agreement or economic cooperation agreement.
i. Activities Allowed on Territorial Waters: (1) The Parties shall have authority to carry out the following activities within
the territorial waters:
(a) Exploration and utilization of the natural resources, whether living or
non-living, within the territorial waters;
(b) Establishment and use of artificial islands, installations and structures;
(c) Marine scientific research;
(d) Protection and the preservation of the marine environment;
(e) Conservation of living resources;
(f) Regulation of shipping and fishing activities;
(g) Enforcement of police and safety measures, including interdiction of
the entry and use of the waters by criminal elements and hot pursuit of
suspected criminal elements;
(h) Regulation and control of contraband and illegal entry of prohibited
materials and substances, including smuggling; and
(i) Such other measures as the Parties may otherwise mutually agree.
(2) Activities relating to exploration and utilization of non-living resources, as
well as paragraphs (c) and (d) of the Authorized Activities will be carried
out on a joint basis agreed by the Parties which may be in the form of
production sharing agreements or joint development pacts.
j. Establishment of a Joint Commission:
(1) The Parties shall establish a Joint Commission, which shall elaborate the
modalities for the implementation and the carrying out of the Authorized
Activities and the measures adopted in cases of allegation of breach, and
carry out any other functions which may be assigned to it by the Parties
for the purpose of implementing the joint management of resources.
(2) The Joint Commission shall consist of one representative from each
Party, who are assisted by advisers as may be needed. The conclusions
of the Joint Commission shall be adopted by consensus and shall only be
recommendatory in nature. Only when the conclusions of the Joint
Commission are adopted by the Parties do they become binding on the
k. Demarcation and Status of Territorial Waters:
The demarcation and status of the BJE territorial waters shall be finally
determined together with the demarcation and final status of Category B territory
of the BJE.
3. From and after entrenchment of compact rights over the Bangsamoro homeland and
the territorial jurisdictions for associative governance shall likewise embrace those
under proclamation for agricultural and human settlements intended for the
Bangsamoro people, all alienable and disposable lands, pasture lands, timberlands
together with all existing civil and military reservations, parks, old growth or natural
forests declared as forest reserves, watersheds, mangroves, fishponds, wetlands,marshes, inland bodies of water; and all bays, straits and channels found within the
4. All territorial and geographic areas in Mindanao and its adjacent islands including
Palawan, and the Sulu archipelago that have been declared recognized, and/or
delineated as ancestral domain and ancestral land of the Bangsamoro people as
their geographic areas, inclusive of settlements and reservations, may be formed or
constituted into political subdivisions of the Bangsamoro territorial jurisdictions
subject to the principles of equality of peoples and mutual respect and to the
protection of civil, political, economic, and cultural rights in their respective
5. For purposes of territorial delimitation, the Parties have agreed to the joint
determination of geographic areas encompassed within the territorial borders of the
Bangsamoro homeland and territory based on the technical maps and data
submitted by both sides as provided above.
1. The BJE is empowered with authority and responsibility for the land use,
development, conservation and disposition of the natural resources within the
homeland. Upon entrenchment of the BJE, the land tenure and use of such
resources and wealth must reinforce their economic self-sufficiency. Among the
purposes or measures to make progress more rapid are:
a. Entry into joint development, utilization, and exploitation of natural resources
designed as commons or shared resources, which is tied up to the full setting of
appropriate institution, particularly affecting strategic minerals;
b. Stimulation of local economy by a range of mechanism, in particular the need to
address unemployment and improvement of living conditions for the population in
c. Intensification of measures needed to uproot the cause of poverty in the BJE
through responsible harnessing and development of its natural resources; and
d. Undertaking program review of public services, industrial or trade-related and
agrarian-related issues in situations of different sectors of the society in the BJE,
which acquire communal character deriving from the special nature of their
2. The Bangsamoro People through their appropriate juridical entity shall, among
others, exercise power or authority over the natural resources within its territorial
a. To explore, exploit, use or utilize and develop their ancestral domain and
ancestral lands within their territorial jurisdiction, inclusive of their right of
occupation, possession, conservation, and exploitation of all natural resources
b. To conserve and protect the human and natural environment for their sustainable
and beneficial enjoyment and their posterity;
c. To utilize, develop, and exploit its natural resources found in their ancestral
domain or enter into a joint development, utilization, and exploitation of natural
resources, specifically on strategic minerals, designed as commons or shared
resources, which is tied up to the final setting of appropriate institution;
d. To revoke or grant forest concessions, timber license, contracts or agreements in
the utilization and exploitation of natural resources designated as commons or
shared resources, mechanisms for economic cooperation with respect to
strategic minerals, falling within the territorial jurisdiction of the BJE;
e. To enact agrarian laws and programs suitable to the special circumstances of the
Bangsamoro people prevailing in their ancestral lands within the established
territorial boundaries of the Bangsamoro homeland and ancestral territory within
the competence of the BJE; and
f. To use such natural resources and wealth to reinforce their economic selfsufficiency.
3. The BJE, and the Central Government agree on wealth-sharing based on a mutually
agreed percentage ratio in favor of the BJE through an economic cooperation
agreement or arrangement over the income and revenues that are derived from the
exploration, exploitation, use and development of any resources for the benefit of the
4. The BJE is free to enter into any economic cooperation and trade relations with
foreign countries: provided, however, that such relationships and understandings do
not include aggression against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines;
provided, further that it shall remain the duty and obligation of the Central
Government to take charge of external defense. Without prejudice to the right of the
Bangsamoro juridical entity to enter into agreement and environmental cooperation
with any friendly country affecting its jurisdiction, it shall include:
a. The option to establish and open Bangsamoro trade missions in foreign countries
with which it has economic cooperation agreements; and
b. The elements bearing in mind the mutual benefits derived from Philippine
archipelagic status and security.
And, in furtherance thereto, the Central Government shall take necessary steps to
ensure the BJE’s participation in international meetings and events, e.g. ASEAN
meetings and other specialized agencies of the United Nations. This shall entitle the
BJE’s participation in Philippine official missions and delegations that are engaged in
the negotiation of border agreements or protocols for environmental protection,
equitable sharing of incomes and revenues, in the areas of sea, seabed and inland
seas or bodies of water adjacent to or between islands forming part of the ancestral
domain, in addition to those of fishing rights.
5. Jurisdiction and control over, and the right of exploring for, exploiting, producing and
obtaining all potential sources of energy, petroleum, in situ, fossil fuel, mineral oil
and natural gas, whether onshore or offshore, is vested in the BJE as the party
having control within its territorial jurisdiction, provided that in times of national
emergency, when public interest so requires, the Central Government may, during
the emergency, for a fixed period and under reasonable terms as may be agreed by
both Parties, temporarily assume or direct the operations of such strategic
6. The BJE take or profit split from total production shall be shared with the Central Government on a percentage ratio of 75:25 in favor of the BJE. All royalties,
bonuses, taxes, charges, custom duties or imposts on natural resources and mineral resources shall be shared by the Parties on a percentage ratio of 75:25 in favor of
7. The legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people arising from any unjust
dispossession of their territorial and proprietary rights, customary land tenures, or
their marginalization shall be acknowledged. Whenever restoration is no longer
possible, the GRP shall take effective measures or adequate reparation collectively
beneficial to the Bangsamoro people, in such quality, quantity and status to be
determined mutually by both Parties.
8. All proclamations, issuances, policies, rules and guidelines declaring old growth or
natural forests and all watersheds within the BJE as forest reserves shall continue to
remain in force until otherwise modified, revised or superseded by subsequent
policies, rules and regulations issued by the competent authority under the BJE.
9. Forest concessions, timber licenses, contracts or agreements, mining concessions,
Mineral Production and Sharing Agreements (MPSA), Industrial Forest Management
Agreements (IFMA), and other land tenure instruments of any kind or nature
whatsoever granted by the Philippine Government including those issued by the
present ARMM shall continue to operate from the date of formal entrenchment of the
BJE unless otherwise expired, reviewed, modified and/or cancelled by the latter.
10. The Parties recognize an immediate need to establish a five-member BJE
economic-expert mission (the “Mission”) bearing in mind that the functioning of the
economy and the operation of institutions involve financial and other resource
management as well as parallel or complementary means, by which the
Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) will manage and administer resources
acquired for the above purposes, especially in coordinating strategies and programs
for cooperation in all fields.
11. The Mission acts as a link in the conduct of BJE’s associative parallel relationships
and shall cooperate fully with all organizations involved in implementation of the
peace settlement. It shall launch a plan and joint international appeal for the
reparation and development of the conflict affected areas in Mindanao. Persons
appointed thereto must be familiar with the specific economic, political and legal
characteristics in the Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan region and must possess recognized
competence, integrity, and high moral standing.
12. Cognizant that the Mission will benefit from international expertise, both the Central
Government and the BJE hereby join the Third Party facilitator in inviting
international funding institutions or equivalent entities for reconstruction and
development to appoint two members and to designate one as the Chairman. The
BJE shall designate one member as Co-Chairman. The remaining two members
shall each be designated by the Central Government and the BJE.
1. The recognition and peaceful resolution of the conflict must involve consultations
with the Bangsamoro people free of any imposition in order to provide chances of
success and open new formulas that permanently respond to the aspirations of the
2. The ultimate objective of entrenching the Bangsamoro homeland as a territorial
space is to secure their identity and posterity, to protect their property rights and
resources as well as to establish a system of governance suitable and acceptable to
them as a distinct dominant people. The Parties respect the freedom of choice of the
3. The Parties agree to invite a multinational third - party to observe and monitor the
actual implementation of the comprehensive compact which will embody the details
for the effective enforcement of this Agreement. The participation of the third – party
shall not in any way affect the status of the relationship between the Central
Government and the BJE.
4. The relationship between the Central Government and the BJE shall be associative
characterized by shared authority and responsibility with a structure of governance
based on executive, legislative, judicial and administrative institutions with defined
powers and functions in the Comprehensive Compact. A period of transition shall be
established in a Comprehensive Compact specifying the relationship between the
Central Government and the BJE.
5. In the context of implementing prior and incremental agreements between the GRP
and MILF, it is the joint understanding of the Parties that the term “entrenchment”
means, for the purposes of giving effect to this transitory provision, the creation of a
process of institution building to exercise shared authority over territory and defined
functions of associative character.
6. The modalities for the governance intended to settle the outstanding negotiated
political issues are deferred after the signing of the MOA-AD.
The establishment of institutions for governance in a Comprehensive Compact,
together with its modalities during the transition period, shall be fully entrenched and
established in the basic law of the BJE. The Parties shall faithfully comply with their
commitment to the associative arrangements upon entry into force of the
7. The Parties agree that the mechanisms and modalities for the actual implementation
of this MOA-AD shall be spelt out in the Comprehensive Compact to mutually take
such steps to enable it to occur effectively.
Any provisions of the MOA-AD requiring amendments to the existing legal
framework shall come into force upon signing of a Comprehensive Compact and
upon effecting the necessary changes to the legal framework with due regard to non
derogation of prior agreements and within the stipulated timeframe to be contained
in the Comprehensive Compact.
8. The Parties agree that the BJE shall be empowered to build, develop and maintain
its own institutions, inclusive of, civil service, electoral, financial and banking,
education, legislation, legal, economic, and police and internal security force, judicial
system and correctional institutions, necessary for developing a progressive
Bangsamoro society, the details of which shall be discussed in the negotiation of the
9. The Parties further agree to undertake activities which will enhance the capacity of
the government institutions during the transition through technical assistance,
information-sharing and human resource development.
10. Matters concerning the details of the agreed consensus points on Governance not
covered under this Agreement shall be deferred to, and discussed during, the
negotiations of the Comprehensive Compact.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, being the representatives of the Parties
hereby affix their signatures.
Done this 5th day of August, 2008 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
FOR THE GRP:
FOR THE MILF:
RODOLFO C. GARCIA
GRP Peace Negotiating Panel
MILF Peace Negotiating Panel
DATUK OTHMAN BIN ABD RAZAK
Special Adviser to the Prime Minister
AMBASSADOR SAYED ELMASRY
Adviser to Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary General and Special Envoy for Peace Process in Southern Philippines
IN THE PRESENCE OF:
DR. ALBERTO G. ROMULO
Secretary of Foreign Affairs
Republic of the Philippines
DATO’ SERI UTAMA DR. RAIS
Minister of Foreign Affairs