Devolution of Powers

Section 1. The fundamental rights and duties of the people in the Autonomous Region are those established in the Constitution and this Organic Act.

Section 2. The powers devolved to the Autonomous Region shall be exercised through the Regional Assembly, the Regional Governor, and the special courts as provided in this Act.

Powers of Government

Section 1. The Regional Government shall exercise powers and functions necessary for the proper governance and development of all the constituent units within the Autonomous Region consistent with the constitutional policy on regional and local autonomy and decentralization: Provided, That nothing herein shall authorize the diminution of the powers and functions already enjoyed by local government units.

Section 2. The Autonomous Region is a corporate entity with jurisdiction in all matters devolved to it by the Constitution and this Organic Act as herein enumerated:

(1) Administrative organization;

(2) Creation of sources of revenues;

(3) Ancestral domain and natural resources;

(4) Personal, family and property relations;

(5) Regional, urban and rural planning development;

(6) Economic, social, and tourism development;

(7) Educational policies;

(8) Preservation and development of the cultural heritage;

(9) Powers, functions and responsibilities now being exercised by the departments of the National Government except:

(a) Foreign affairs;

(b) National defense and security;

(c) Postal service;

(d) Coinage, and fiscal and monetary policies;

(e) Administration of justice;

(f) Quarantine;

(g) Customs and tariff;

(h) Citizenship;

(i) Naturalization, immigration and deportation;

(j) General auditing, civil service and elections;

(k) Foreign trade;

(l) Maritime, land and air transportation and communications that affect areas outside the Autonomous Region; and

(m) Patents, trademarks, trade names, and copyrights; and

(10) Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the Region.

Section 3. The Regional Government may exercise the power of eminent domain.

Inter-Governmental Relations

Section 1. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over the Regional Government, including the local government units therein, directly or through the Regional Governor, to ensure that national and regional laws are faithfully executed.

Section 2. The Regional Government shall maintain close coordination with the National Government for the orderly management of the special courts within the Autonomous Region.

The Legislative Department

Section 1. The legislative power shall be vested in the Regional Assembly, except to the extent reserved to the people by provisions on initiative and referendum as provided by law.

Section 2. The Regional Assembly may create, divide, merge, abolish or substantially alter boundaries of any municipality or barangay in accordance with the criteria laid down by existing law subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected. It may also change the names of such local government units, public places and institutions.

Section 3. The Regional Assembly shall approve the budget of the Autonomous Region.

Section 4. The Regional Assembly shall be composed of Members elected by popular vote, with three (3) members elected from each of the congressional districts.

Section 5. The Members of the Regional Assembly shall have a term of three (3) years which shall begin, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the 31st day of March next following their election.

No Member of the Regional Assembly shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of or removal from office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.

Section 6. In case of vacancy in the Regional Assembly occurring at least one year before the expiration of the term of office, a special election shall be called to fill the vacancy in the manner prescribed by regional law: Provided, That the Member elected shall serve only for the unexpired term.

Section 7. No person shall be a Member of the Regional Assembly unless he is:

(1) A natural-born citizen of the Philippines;

(2) At least twenty-one (21) years of age on the day of the election;

(3) Able to read and write;

(4) A registered voter of the district in which he shall be elected on the day he files his certificate of candidacy; and

(5) A resident thereof for a period of not less than five (5) years immediately preceding the day of the election.

Section 8. Every Member of the Regional Assembly shall take an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before taking his seat.

Section 9. Unless otherwise provided by Congress, a Member of the Regional Assembly shall receive an annual salary of One hundred twenty thousand pesos (P120,000.00) except the Speaker of the Regional Assembly who shall receive an annual salary of One Hundred forty-four thousand pesos (P144,000.00). They shall not receive during their tenure any other emoluments from the Government.