QUEZON CITY, July 23, 2018 – “Give me 48 hours to sign it.”

This was President Rodrigo Duterte’s assurance to the people after the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) suffered a debacle when the House of Representatives failed to ratify the law when its session was abruptly adjourned earlier today.

“When the approved version is transmitted 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. Babasahin ko pa bago ko pipirmahan (I have to read it first before I sign it),” Duterte said in his third State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“I make the solemn commitment that this administration will never deny our Muslim brothers and sisters the basic legal tools to chart their own destiny within this constitutional framework of our country,” the President added.

Duterte had been expected to sign the “Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao” before delivering his SONA. Earlier in the day, the Senate adopted and ratified the bicameral conference committee version of the Bangsamoro Organic Law during its third regular session.

At the House of Representatives, however, a sudden and unexpected adjournment kept members from ratifying it.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said the failure to ratify was unfortunate “but it had nothing to do with the BOL itself. It was due to some leadership issues internal to the House of Representatives.”

“The BOL suffered this temporary setback, as a ‘collateral damage’ to an internal leadership issue in the House, but I trust and expect that in due time, the ratification which it deserves will take place as a matter of course,” he added.

The President’s assurance gave hope it would not take long before the law is signed.

In his SONA, Duterte said the country would need “loads of understanding and patience to endure and overcome the birth pangs or pains of the new beginning.”

“Mindanao was dubbed as The Land of Promise… (and) we are now in the process of fulfilling that promise through significant increases in the budget for Mindanao. At the end of my term, I hope to see the promise of Mindanao fulfilled, or at the very least, approaching fulfilment,” he said.

In an earlier statement, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said the passage of the law will usher in a new chapter of peace and prosperity in Mindanao.

“I believe that is the dawn of the new beginning for Mindanao. A dawn of peace followed by unhampered prosperity for our region,” he said. ###