ARTICLE XVII
General Provisions

Section 1. The Regional Assembly is hereby empowered to pass a law adopting an official regional emblem, seal and hymn.

Section 2. All public officers and employees, as well as members of the regional police force and the military establishment, shall be required to take an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to support and defend the Constitution and this Organic Act.

Section 3. No member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the Autonomous Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations, or in any of their subsidiaries or instrumentalities within the Autonomous Region.

Section 4. This Organic Act shall be officially promulgated in Filipino, English and Arabic and translated into the dialects widely spoken in the Autonomous Region. In case of conflict, the English text shall prevail.

ARTICLE XVIII
Amendments or Revisions

Section 1. Consistent with the provisions of the Constitution, this Organic Act may be amended or revised by the Congress of the Philippines upon a majority vote of the House of Representatives and of the Senate voting separately.

Section 2. The Regional Assembly shall have the power to initiate proposals for amendment to or revisions of this Organic Act by a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of all its Members or it may call for a Regional Consultative Commission to propose the amendment or revision. In any case, the amendment or revision shall require the approval of the Congress of the Philippines.

Section 3. Any amendment to or revision of this Organic Act shall become effective only when approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose, which shall be held not earlier than sixty (60) days or later than ninety (90) days after the approval of such amendment or revision.

ARTICLE XIX
Transitory Provisions

Section 1. (1) The existing Sangguniang Pampook and the Lupong Tagapagpaganap ng Pook of Regions IX and XII shall be deemed abolished and the Members thereof considered as having ceased in office upon the election and qualification of their successors as provided in this Act.

(2) All regular and permanent personnel of the Sangguniang Pampook and Lupong Tagapagpaganap ng Pook of Regions IX and XII shall continue to hold office unless they are replaced by the Regional Government within six (6) months from the organization thereof; otherwise, they shall be considered regular and permanent employees of the Regional Government.

Nothing in this Organic Act, however, shall derogate from any right or privilege enjoyed by any public official or employee under existing laws. Retiring employees shall be given full benefits under existing laws. Those who opt to transfer to another region shall be allowed, subject to the Civil Service laws and regulations.

(3) Properties and assets of the present Autonomous Governments in Regions IX and XII shall be turned over to the Regional Government. Those lands, buildings and other permanent structures located in the provinces or cities that do not vote favorably in the plebiscite for the ratification of this Organic Act may be acquired by the province or city concerned for value.

Section 2. All personnel of the National Government and of government-owned or controlled corporations who are absorbed by the Regional Government shall retain their seniority rights, compensation and the benefits.

Section 3. Within one (1) month from the organization of the Regional Government an Oversight Committee composed of the Executive Secretary as Chairman, the Secretary of Budget and Management, the Secretary-General of the National Economic and Development Authority, the Regional Governor of the Autonomous Region, the Speaker of the Regional Assembly, two (2) Senators to be designated by the Senate President and two (2) Representatives to be designated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as Members, shall be organized for the purpose of supervising the transfer to the Autonomous Region of such powers and functions vested in it by this Organic Act and the appropriations of the offices or agencies, including the transfer of properties, assets and liabilities, and such personnel as may be necessary, and of identifying the other line agencies and government-owned or controlled corporations that may be absorbed by the Regional Government and, with respect to the latter, also the terms and conditions of their turnover.

Within six (6) months after its organization, the Oversight Committee shall submit its report and recommendations to the President of the Philippines who shall act on the report and recommendations within ninety (90) days after receipt thereof: Provided, however, That if the President fails to act within said period, the recommendations of the Oversight Committee shall be deemed approved.

Section 4. Upon the organization of the Autonomous Region, the line agencies and offices of the National Government dealing with local government, social services, science and technology, labor, natural resources, and tourism, including their personnel, equipment, properties and budgets, shall be immediately placed under the control and supervision of the Regional Government.

Other National Government offices and agencies in the Autonomous Region which are not excluded under paragraph (9), Sec. 2, Article V of this Organic Act, together with their personnel, equipment, properties and budgets, shall be placed under the control and supervision of the Regional government pursuant to a schedule prescribed by the Oversight Committee mentioned in Section 3, Article XIX of this Organic Act: Provided, however, That the transfer of these offices and agencies and their personnel, equipment, properties and budget shall be accomplished within six (6) years from the organization of the Regional Government.

The National Government shall continue such levels of expenditures as may be necessary to carry out the functions devolved under this Act: Provided, however, That the annual budgetary support shall, as soon as practicable, terminate as to the line agencies or offices devolved to the Regional Government.

Section 5. Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding Section, the Government Service Insurance System, the Social Security System, the Pagtutulungan-Ikaw, Bangko, Industriya't Gobyerno (PAG-IBIG) and other funds of similar trust or fiduciary nature shall be exempt from the coverage of this Organic Act.

Section 6. Pending the enactment of a regional budgetary law, the budgeting process of the Regional Government shall be governed by pertinent rules and regulations prescribed by the Department of Budget and Management.