Bangsamoro autonomy realized
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) ending almost 20 years of wait for the key legislation that will grant autonomy to predominantly Muslim regions in Mindanao.
A momentary confusion on the status of the law ensued yesterday after Mr. Duterte announced the signing of the law in a speech during the 69th anniversary of Ipil, a town in Zamboanga Sibugay.
The law’s scheduled signing during Monday’s State of the Nation Address (SoNA) was sidetracked due to a leadership struggle that resulted in the assumption of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the new House Speaker.
“I have signed the BBL,” Duterte said.
He was referring to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which was renamed BOL after it was passed by the bicameral conference committee last 18 July.
“I have no expectations. Not everyone may like it. Let’s see if it can be modified. Those who are disappointed may wage a war,” the President added.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque confirmed the President’s signing of the law.
“This is to announce that the President has just signed the BOL into law,” Roque said in a statement.
48-hour promise met
The Senate ratified the BOL last Monday while the House of Representatives finally approved it last Tuesday.
Roque said early yesterday the Palace was considering to hold a ceremony for the signing.
“It’s a matter now really of whether or not we want a ceremony or we just want it signed but I think it deserves a ceremony but that’s just me speaking,” Roque told newsmen.
The spokesman said the signing of the BOL can either be in Davao or in Manila. “But there are no obstacles to the President signing the BOL now,” he added.
Duterte, in the SoNA, asked for 48 hours to sign the BOL once it reaches his office.
“When the approved version is transmitted [to] and received by my office…The law has been passed actually and I intend to… Give me 48 hours to sign it and ratify the law,” Duterte said.
The BOL seeks to create a new Bangsamoro political entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza earlier had said once Duterte signed the bill into a law, it would mark “a new beginning” for all Bangsamoro and a peaceful Mindanao and Philippines.
“When President Duterte approves and signs it into law, it will be a new beginning for all Bangsamoro and all citizens to work for a better and peaceful Mindanao and country,” Dureza said.