REPUBLIC ACT No. 6734

AN ACT PROVIDING FOR AN ORGANIC ACT FOR THE AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM MINDANAO

Preamble

The people of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to develop a just and humane society and establish an Autonomous Regional Government that is truly reflective of their ideals and aspirations within the framework of the Constitution and national sovereignty, as well as the territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines, and to secure to themselves and their posterity the blessings of autonomy, democracy, peace, justice and equality, do ordain and promulgate this Organic Act through the Congress of the Philippines.

 ARTICLE I
Name and Purpose

Section 1. The name of the Autonomous Region shall be the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao unless provided otherwise by Congress upon the recommendation of the Regional Legislative Assembly.

Section 2. It is the purpose of this Organic Act to establish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, to provide its basic structure of government within the framework of the Constitution and national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines, and to ensure the peace and equality before the law of all people in the Autonomous Region.

ARTICLE II
The Autonomous Region

AREA AND SEAT OF GOVERNMENT

Section 1. (1) There is hereby created the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, to be composed of provinces and cities voting favorably in the plebiscite called for the purpose, in accordance with Section 18, Article X of the Constitution.

(2) The plebiscite shall be conducted in the provinces of Basilan, Cotabato, 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 the cities of Cotabato, Dapitan, Dipolog, General Santos, Iligan, Marawi, Pagadian, Puerto Princesa, and Zamboanga.

Section 2. The Regional Legislative Assembly, hereinafter referred to as the Regional Assembly, shall fix by law the permanent seat of government for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, taking into consideration accessibility and efficiency in carrying out its mandate under this Act: Provided, That the provisional seat of the Regional Government shall be in Cotabato City.

ARTICLE III
Guiding Principles And Policies

Section 1. The area of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao shall remain an integral and inseparable part of the national territory of the Republic of the Philippines as defined by the Constitution and existing laws.

The people of the Autonomous Region shall uphold the Constitution as the fundamental law of the land and unequivocally owe allegiance and fidelity to the Republic of the Philippines.

The Autonomous Region shall be governed and administered in accordance with this Organic Act.

Section 2. The Regional Government shall adopt the policy of settlement of conflicts by peaceful means, and renounce any form of lawless violence as an instrument of redress.

Section 3. The Regional Government shall adopt a policy on local autonomy whereby regional powers shall be devolved to local government units where appropriate: Provided, however, That until a regional law implementing this provision is enacted, the local Government Code shall be applicable.

Section 4. Highly urbanized cities within the Autonomous Region shall continue to be governed by their charters. Nothing in this Act shall be construed as to diminish the powers and functions already enjoyed by these cities.

Section 5. The Regional Government shall adopt measures to ensure mutual respect for and protection of the distinct beliefs, customs, and traditions among its inhabitants in the spirit of unity in diversity and peaceful co-existence: Provided, That no person in the Autonomous Region shall, on the basis of creed, religion, ethnic origin, parentage or sex, be subjected to any form of discrimination.

Section 6. The Regional Government shall adopt educational policies that are responsive to and reflective of the special needs of the people, with due respect to the beliefs, customs and traditions of the inhabitants of the Region.

Section 7. The Regional Government shall endeavor to improve the well-being of all its constituents, particularly the marginalized, deprived, disadvantaged, underprivileged and disabled.

Section 8. Subject to the provisions of the Constitution and this Organic Act, and national development policies and programs, the Regional Government shall have authority, power and right in the exploration, development and utilization of its natural resources: Provided, That the indigenous cultural communities shall have priority rights in the areas designated parts of the ancestral domain.

Section 9. The Autonomous Region shall provide manpower training programs, create livelihood and job opportunities, allocate equitable preferential rights to its inhabitants, and adopt laws that will safeguard the rights of workers.

Section 10. The Regional Government shall uphold and protect the fundamental rights of women and children. In no case shall women and children be exploited, abused or discriminated against.

Section 11. The Regional Government shall provide, maintain, and ensure the delivery of basic health education and services.

Section 12. The Regional Government shall provide incentives for prompt payment of taxes.

Section 13. The National Government shall provide financial assistance to the Autonomous Region by appropriating such sums as may be necessary to accelerate the development of the Region.