ARTICLE VIII
The Executive Department

Section 1. The executive power shall be vested in a Regional Governor who shall be elected at large by direct vote of the people of the Autonomous Region.

Section 2. The Regional Governor shall be assisted by a Cabinet of nine (9) members, at least four of whom shall preferably come from indigenous cultural communities: Provided, That the members shall, as far as practicable, come from various provinces and cities within the Autonomous Region.

The members of the Cabinet must be registered voters and residents of the Region for at least five (5) years immediately preceding their appointment.

The Regional Governor shall appoint the members of the Cabinet subject to confirmation by the Regional Assembly.

Section 3. No person may be elected Governor of the Autonomous Region unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter of the Autonomous Region, able to read and write, at least thirty-five (35) years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Autonomous Region for at least five (5) years immediately preceding the election.

Section 4. There shall be a Vice-Governor of the Autonomous Region who shall have the same qualifications and term of office and be elected with and in the same manner as the Regional Governor. He may be removed from office in the same manner as the Regional Governor. The Vice-Governor may be appointed as a member of the Regional Cabinet without need of confirmation by the Regional Assembly.

Section 5. The Vice-Governor shall likewise be elected by direct vote of the people of the Autonomous Region.

Section 6. (1) The term of office of the Governor and Vice-Governor shall be for a period of three (3) years which shall begin at noon on the 31st day of March next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date three years thereafter.

(2) No Governor or Vice-Governor shall serve for more than two (2) consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of or removal from office for any length of time shall not be considered an interruption in the continuity of the service for the full term for which he was elected.

Section 7. Before they enter on the execution of their office, the Regional Governor and the Vice-Governor shall take the following oath or affirmation: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as Governor (or Vice-Governor) of the Regional Autonomous Government, preserve and defend the Constitution of the Republic, the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region, and the national and regional laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Autonomous Region and the nation. So help me God." (In case of Affirmation, last sentence will be omitted.)

Section 8. Unless otherwise provided by Congress, the annual compensation of the Regional Governor and Vice-Governor shall be One hundred eighty thousand pesos (P180,000.00) and One hundred forty-four thousand pesos (P144,000.00), respectively. They shall not receive during their tenure any other emoluments from the Government.

Section 9. The Regional Governor shall be provided with a reasonable housing allowance by the Regional Assembly.

Section 10. In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the Governor, the Vice-Governor shall become the Governor to serve the unexpired term. In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or the resignation of both the Governor and the Vice-Governor, the Speaker of the Regional Assembly shall act as Governor until the Governor and Vice-Governor are elected and qualified in a special election called for the purpose; Provided, That upon assumption as Acting Governor, the Speaker of the Regional Assembly shall temporarily vacate his position as such and an interim Speaker shall be elected: Provided, further, That upon the election and assumption of office of the new Regional Governor, the Speaker shall reassume his office.

No special election shall be called to fill a vacancy occurring within one year immediately preceding the next regular election.

Section 11. In case of temporary incapacity of the Regional Governor to perform his duties on account of physical or legal causes, or when he is on official leave of absence or travel outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Republic of the Philippines, the Vice-Governor, or if there be none or in case of his permanent or temporary incapacity or refusal to assume office, the Speaker of the Regional Assembly shall exercise the powers, duties and functions of the Regional Governor.

Section 12. The Regional Governor or the Vice-Governor may be removed from office for culpable violation of the Constitution or this Organic Act, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes or betrayal of public trust by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of all the Members of the Regional Assembly.

The Regional Assembly may initiate the removal of the Regional Governor or the Vice-Governor under this Section by a majority vote of all its Members.

The Regional Assembly shall promulgate the necessary rules to carry out effectively the purposes of this Section.

Section 13. The Regional Governor or the Vice-Governor may be recalled once during his term of office for loss of confidence.

The Regional Assembly shall provide the procedure and system whereby such recall can be made: Provided, That no recall shall take place within one year from the date of the official's assumption of office or one year immediately preceding a regional election.

Section 14. The Regional Governor, the Vice-Governor, and the Members of the Cabinet and their deputies shall not hold any other office or employment during their tenure. They shall not, during said tenure, directly or indirectly, practice any other profession, participate in any business, or be financially interested in any contract with, or in any franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries. They shall strictly avoid conflicts of interest in the conduct of their office.

The spouse and relatives by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree of the Governor shall not, during his tenure, be appointed members of the regional Cabinet or chairmen of regional commissions, or heads of bureaus or offices, including government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries located in the Autonomous Region.

Section 15. Appointments extended by the Acting Governor within ninety (90) days before the assumption of office by the elected Governor shall remain effective, unless revoked by the elected Governor within ninety (90) days from such assumption or resumption of office.

Section 16. The Regional Governor shall not issue appointments, remove personnel, or unless authorized by the Commission on Elections, undertake public works projects, within the prohibited period before and after a regional election as provided by law.

Section 17. The Regional Governor shall appoint, in addition to the members of the Cabinet, their deputies, the chairmen and members of the commissions and the heads of bureaus of the Regional Government, and those whom he may be authorized by regional law to appoint. The Regional Assembly may, by law, vest the appointment of other officers or officials lower in rank in the heads of departments, agencies, commissions, or boards.

Section 18. Subject to the exceptions provided for in this Organic Act, the Regional Governor shall have control of all the regional executive commissions, boards, bureaus and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed. The Regional Governor shall exercise general supervision over the local government units within the Autonomous Region: Provided, however, That nothing herein shall authorize the diminution of the powers and functions already enjoyed by local government units.

Section 19. (1) The Regional Governor shall submit to the Regional Assembly not later than two (2) months before the beginning of every regular session, as the basis of the regional appropriations bill, a budget of expenditures and sources of financing, including receipts from existing and proposed revenue measures.

The fiscal year of the Autonomous Region shall cover the period April 1 to March 31 of the succeeding year.

(2) The Regional Assembly may not increase the appropriations recommended by the Regional Governor for the operation of the Autonomous Government as specified in the budget. The form, content and manner of preparation of the budget shall be prescribed by regional law: Provided, however, That pending the enactment of such regional law, the budgeting process shall be governed by existing national laws and rules and regulations prescribed by the Department of Budget and Management.

(3) No provision or enactment shall be embraced in the regional appropriations bill unless it relates specifically to some particular appropriation therein. Any such provision or enactment shall be limited in its operation to the appropriation to which it relates.

(4) The procedure in approving appropriations for the Regional Assembly shall strictly follow the procedure for approving appropriations for other departments and agencies of the Regional Government.

(5) A special appropriations bill shall specify the purpose for which it is intended, and shall be supported by funds actually available as certified by the Regional Treasurer, or to be raised by a corresponding revenue proposal therein.

(6) No regional law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the Regional Governor may, by regional law, be authorized to augment any item for his office from savings in other items of the appropriations for his office.

(7) Discretionary funds appropriated for particular officials shall be disbursed only for public purposes to be supported by appropriate vouchers and subject to such guidelines as may be prescribed by regional law.

Section 20. If, by the end of the fiscal year, the Regional Assembly shall have failed to pass the regional appropriations bill for ensuing fiscal year, the Regional Appropriations Act for the preceding fiscal year shall be deemed automatically reenacted and shall remain in force and effect until the regional appropriations bill is passed by the Regional Assembly.

Section 21. The Regional Governor shall have the power to veto any particular item or items in an appropriation or revenue bill, but the veto shall not affect the item or items to which he does not object. The veto may be reconsidered by the Assembly by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of all its Members.

Section 22. (1) No money shall be paid out of the Regional Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by regional law.

(2) No public money or property shall be appropriated, applied, paid or employed, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, sectarian institution, or system of religion or of any priest, imam, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary as such, except when such priest, imam, preacher, minister or dignitary is assigned to the regional police force or to any penal institution, or government orphanage or leprosarium within the Region.

(3) All money collected on any regional tax levied for a special purpose shall be treated as a special fund and paid out for such special purpose only. If the purpose for which a special fund was created has been fulfilled or abandoned, the balance, if any, shall accrue to the general funds of the Regional Government.

(4) No funds or resources shall be disbursed unless duly approved by the Regional Governor or by his duly authorized representative.

(5) Trust funds shall only be paid out of the Regional Treasury upon fulfillment of the specific purpose for which said funds were created or received.

Section 23. The Regional Governor shall inform the Regional Assembly every quarter on the conduct of regional affairs and the state of regional finances.

Section 24. The financial accounts of the expenditures and revenues of the Autonomous Region shall be audited by the Commission on Audit.

The financial accounts of the Autonomous Region, including all payments from the reserve fund, shall be submitted by the Regional Governor to the Regional Assembly, together with the statement of audit prepared by the Commission on Audit within ten (10) working days from receipt thereof.

Section 25. The Regional Governor shall address the Regional Assembly at the opening of its regular session. He may also appear before it at any time. The Regional Assembly may invite the President and other government officials to address it.