By Ben Rosario
Former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Tuesday made good her promise to deliver the ratified bicameral conference committee report of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) much earlier than President Duterte had expected it.
Right after the House resumed session Tuesday, congressmen voted viva voce to ratify the bill and have it enrolled for Duterte’s signature which is expected not later than tomorrow.
The ratification of the BOL, formerly the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), can be considered Arroyo’s first legislative accomplishment as speaker although it was her predecessor, former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who shepherded the measure to its approval.
House ratification of the BOL was originally scheduled Monday but the leadership tiff between the two senior administration lawmakers pushed the cancellation of the chamber’s approval.
Arroyo and Alvarez are both principal authors of the BOL measure, which has been seen as the most vital solution to the decades-old secessionist strife in Mindanao.
The new Speaker did not preside over the ratification proceedings. She arrived at the Lower House with two busloads of congressmen who are backing her.
“For today, we will let the Bangsamoro Organic Law to be ratified,” Arroyo stated.
The former chief executive also stressed that giving immediate assistance to colleagues whose congressional districts are now under state of calamity also occupies the top of her priority list of to-do’s as new House leader.
Arroyo had authored one of four BBL measures that were processed in the Lower House. But she decided to withdraw her proposal and instead back Alvarez’s measure.
It was recalled that it was during Arroyo’s term as president that the “original” bid to address the Bangsamoro issue was initiated. But the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) was rejected as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.