By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte has finally signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) which creates the Bangsamoro government and grants it fiscal autonomy.
In his speech during his visit to fire-affected families in Labuan, Zamboanga City, Duterte said that he has already signed the measure formerly called the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) after its ratification in Congress early this week.
But Duterte said that while there is a possibility that not everybody would like the BOL, he hopes that misunderstandings can be cleared immediately.
“Napirmahankonaang BBL (I have signed the BBL). I have no expectations, baka hindi magustuhan ng lahat (not everybody may like it),” he said Thursday evening.
“Tingnannatin kung kaya i-modify, palitan. ‘Yung ma-disappoint, mag-gyeraagad (Let’s see if we can modify or change it. Those who will be disappointed may just start a war),” he added.
This was the second time Duterte said on Thursday that he has signed the BOL. He first said it in his speech during the 69th ArawngIpil, in ZamboangaSibugay.
Shortly after, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque saidDuterte is yet to be sign the measure as of 5:43 p.m.
When Duterte mentioned about signing the BOL for the second time on the same day, Roque said that the President has “not yet” signed the measure as of 7:19 p.m.
But only four minutes later, Roque confirmed that Duterte has signed the BOL into law.
“This is to announce that the President has just signed the BOL into law,” Roque said in a text message.
Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go also confirmed in a text message that Duterte has signed the measure on Thursday.
On Thursday afternoon, Duterte said that there would still be a ceremony for the signing but did not specify when or where the event would be held.
“The BBL has been signed, but I’m still going back because I have a ceremony with Jaafar and Murad,” Duterte said, referring to Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief Murad Ebrahim and MILF vice chairman Ghadzali Jaafar.
“And also I’d like to talk to Nur so that we can have it by the end of the year,” he added, referring to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader NurMisuari.
Malacañanghas yet to release a copy of the signed law.
Duterte was supposed to sign the BOL during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, but the plan did not happen after the House of Representatives failed to ratify the measure on that day due to a leadership standoff.
In his SONA speech, Duterte vowed that after the bill’s ratification, he will sign the BOL within 48 hours but after making sure that it will not put other people at a disadvantage.
“I make this solemn commitment that this administration will never deny our Muslim brothers and sisters the basic legal tools to chart their own destiny within the Constitutional framework of our country,” he said.
“Give me 48 hours to sign it and ratify the law. Babasahinko pa bago ko pipirmahan. Baka may isiningit kayo diyan na hindi maganda para sa — para sa ibang tao (You may have put something there that may not be good for other people),” he added.
The President is also hoping that the signing of the BOL would put an end to the conflict between armed groups in the south.
Officially now called as the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OLBARMM), the BOL is the result of decades-long peace negotiations between the government and rebel groups in Mindanao, particularly the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The OLBARMM will establish the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region which replaces the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The measure is designed to address the grievances, sentiments, and demands of Muslims in the region.