Autonomous Region

(The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines)

Section 15

There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.

Section 16

The President shall exercise general supervision over autonomous regions to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed.

Section 17

All powers, functions, and responsibilities not granted by this Constitution or by law to the autonomous regions shall be vested in the National Government.

Section 18

The Congress shall enact an organic act for each autonomous region with the assistance and participation of the regional consultative commission composed of representatives appointed by the President from a list of nominees from multisectoral bodies.  The organic act shall define the basic structure of government from the region consisting of the executive department and legislative assembly, both of which shall be reflective and representative of the constituent political units.  The organic acts shall likewise provide for special courts with personal, family, and property law jurisdiction consistent with the provisions of this Constitution and national laws.

The creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved by majority of the votes cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the purpose, provided that only provinces, cities, and geographic areas voting favorably in such plebiscite shall be included in the autonomous region.

Section 19

The first Congress elected under this Constitution shall, within eighteen months from the time of organization of both Houses, pass the organic acts for the autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras.

Section 20

Within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of this Constitution and national laws, the organic act of autonomous regions shall provide for legislative powers over:

  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; and
  9. Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region.
Section 21

The preservation of peace and order within the regions shall be the responsibility of the local police agencies which shall be organized, maintained, supervised, and utilized in accordance with applicable laws.  The defense and security of the regions shall be the responsibility of the National Government.

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