The Maura Law was a law that laid the basic foundations for municipal government in the Philippines. It is named after its author, Don Antonio Maura, the Spanish Minister of Colonies at the time. It was promulgated on May 19, 1893, and put into effect starting in 1895. The law's preamble stated that the law was intended to "... insure to the natives, in the future, whenever it may be possible, the necessary land for cultivation, in accordance with traditional usages." Article 4, however, provides that "... title to all agricultural lands which were capable of adjustment under the Royal decree of ... 1880, but the adjustment of which has not been sought at the time of promulgation of this decree ... will revert to the State. Any claim to such lands by those who might have applied for adjustment of the same but have not done so at the above-mentioned date, will not avail themselves in any way nor at any time." Those who had pending applications for titles were given one year to secure their documentation. No extensions were made, and any paper titles issued after April 17, 1895 were deemed to have no force and effect.
The Maura Law established tribunales, municipales and juntas provinciales, and these foundations laid by the Maura Law were later adopted, revised, and strengthened by the American and Filipino governments that succeeded Spanish rule in the country.
Nu’ain Bin Abdulhaqq, an official of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), contends that a proclamation by President Diosdado Macapagal changing the celebration date for Philippine independence June 12, 1898 (a date earlier than the December 10, 1898 signing date of the Treaty of Paris) as the date of Philippine independence provides the pretext for Moro independence by redefining the geographical extent of the country to its pre-treaty boundaries under Maura law.
- Brosius, Peter; Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt; Zerner, Charles (2005), Communities and Conservation: Histories and Politics of Community-Based, Rowman Altamira, p. 398, ISBN 0-7591-0506-5
- Nu’ain Bin Abdulhaqq (13 June 2006), COMMENTARY: June 12 and the Bangsamoro Nation, MoroHerald.com, retrieved 2008-12-10 (see publisher's attribution, above footnotes)
- "At the juncture of Macapagal’s proclamation, the Philippines as a country was reverted to its delimitations provided for by the Maura Law of 1893 wherein it stated that the territorial jurisdiction of Las Islas Filipinas covered only Luzon and the Visayas. Therefore, the independent territories of the Bangsamoro people which were not colonized by Spain and respected by Aguinaldo were deemed excluded from the territorial jurisdiction of the Republica Filipina, i.e. Luzon and Visayas as of June 12, 1898. By all indications apparent to the shifting of independence day from July to June 12, the Philippines evidently reverted to its original territorial delimitation defined under the Royal Decree of February 26, 1886, the Maura Law of 1893, and the Royal Decree of July 15, 1896 which all affirmed the independence of the Moro territories from the Spanish-held territories of Luzon, Visayas and some Pacific islands.", Nu’ain Bin Abdulhaqq (June 11, 2006), June 12 further strengthens the position of the Moro Nation, MoroHerald.com, retrieved 2008-12-10.