"The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro raised the hopes and expectations of the Bangsamoro people who had grown so tired of war."
Two years ago, the government of the Philippines signed an agreement allowing for an autonomous Muslim state in Mindanao, the Philippines’ southern-most island. This hard-won victory came after decades of civil war and years of negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the group seeking autonomy for the Bangsamoro. This agreement, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, raised the hopes and expectations of the Bangsamoro people who had grown so tired of war. The agreement was meant to be a stepping stone towards the creation of a new independent Muslim state and a historic step to finally bring to an end the political violence in Mindanao.
But the creation of the new state stalled in 2015. Without the establishment of a new Bangsamoro government, no one could run in this year’s upcoming elections. The Bangsamoro Government was supposed to be asymmetrical to the central government and to include recognition of a separate Bangsamoro identity with their own justice institutions and comprehensive governing framework. This would have guaranteed basic rights including government representation, the right of women to participate in the political process, and to protection from all forms of violence.