New Autonomous Entity in Mindanao

The government is looking at an organic act by 2015.

That will create a new autonomous region in Mindanao to achieve a lasting peace in the region, President Benigno S. Aquino III told a business forum in Sydney Thursday.

During the forum at Shangri-La Hotel, the President said his administration has set a very tight deadline to realize the new autonomous entity in Mindanao.

The organic act must be enacted into law by 2015, the President said, noting that the draft will come from the Bangsamoro.

This has to pass Congress and approved by the people in a plebiscite.

The Chief Executive said he hopes to install the new government with a mandate after the 2016 elections.

He also foresees an interim authority governing from 2015 to 2016.

To achieve lasting regional peace, the President acknowledged the need for a thorough political reform in Mindanao particularly in the autonomous area.

There are proposals for the inclusion in the new organic act of the designation of a chief minister who will be responsible to a committee composed of several stakeholders in the region.

This will serve as an automatic check and balance to prevent abuse of power of the governing officials, the President said.

The President also expressed high hopes for Mindanao, saying there are proposals to build infrastructures to connect the region with Luzon using a nautical highway by cutting down the travel time from three days to 15 hours.

According to the President, the national government is committing between P20 to P21 billion for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao this year.

The money is allocated to provide for the infrastructure development, livelihood opportunities, and investments in the human resource that translates into education and health services, he stressed.

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