QUEZON CITY, July 24, 2018 – After an unexpected delay, the House of Representatives under new House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ratified the Bangsamoro Organic Law today.
“This is a momentous celebration not only for our Muslim brothers and sisters but also to us Filipinos. We hope that this is the key towards just and lasting peace,” Deputy Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Nabil Tan said.
Tan, who also chairs the Government Implementing Panel, said despite their differences, “the members of the committee have united to reconcile a Bangsamoro law that promotes the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people.”
“This is one big step in pursuing genuine and lasting peace in the Bangsamoro,” he said.
The BOL was supposed to have been ratified by the House of Representatives on Monday, in time for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign it before his third State of the Nation Address (SONA).
A leadership change, however, prevented the ratification from happening.
Still, Duterte gave assurance during his SONA that he would sign the organic law within two days,
“When the approved version is transmitted and received by my office… Give me 48 hours to sign it and ratify the law. Babasahin ko pa bago ko pipirmahan (I have to read it first before I sign it),” Duterte had said.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chair Ebrahim Murad expressed gratitude for the ratification of the BOL. “We thank the new leadership of the House and we hope that this is the key in moving forward,” he said.
International ambassadors supporting the country’s peace process also joined in the celebration.
“It is wonderful to witness Philippine history as the Senate adopts the bicameral report on the BOL – the dawn of new beginning for Mindanao,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely said.
Different sectors also expressed joy at the realization of the Bangsamoro people’s aspirations at the legislative level.
“This is truly a historic day for our Bangsamoro brothers and sisters. With the approval of the BOL and the President’s assurance of signing it immediately, the dream for peace, justice and progress is at last becoming a reality. We rejoice with the Bangsamoro people on this momentous occasion,” said Rev. Dr. Aldrin Peñamora, Co-Convenor of Joint Working Group of Religious Leaders for Peace and Executive Director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches.
In a statement, the Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogues in Southeast Asia said: “The milestone in our Bangsamoro history is also a sign of unity and progress. It is an antidote to the years of conflict and strife, and hopefully will usher in a new era of healing between all Filipino peoples.”
President Duterte is expected to sign the BOL within 48 hours. ###