By Roy Mabasa
Japan has joined the international community in welcoming the enactment of the Bangamoro Organic Law (BOL), saying that peace in Mindanao will contribute to regional peace and stability.
“The enactment of this law is an important step toward the establishment of the new autonomous government (Bangsamoro) in Mindanao. Japan sincerely commends the efforts of the Government of the Philippines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and all others concerned,” Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said in a statement issued over the weekend.
Kono said Japan is hopeful that the transition process toward the inauguration of Bangsamoro will be steadily implemented, including the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
The Japanese foreign minister said Japan has been supporting the peace process for many years under the belief that peace in Mindanao will contribute to regional peace and stability.
In October 2017, the Philippines and Japan issued a joint statement on bilateral Cooperation for the next five years wherein Tokyo agreed to enhance its support for the development of Mindanao in a wide range of fields based on the progress in the peace process.
The Japanese government has been contributing to the peace process and to the reconstruction and development of the Mindanao region through efforts such as the dispatch of monitoring team, implementation of economic cooperation projects thru the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD), and participation in the International Contact Group (ICG) that extends advice as an observer.
Earlier, the United Nations welcomed the signing into law of the BOL, calling it a “landmark achievement on the road to lasting peace in Southern Philippines.”
“The United Nations will continue to support the Philippines in the implementation of the law, and to help build the capacity of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority as an effective conduit for peace, democratic governance, and human rights, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
The European Union, for its part, said the passage and subsequent signing into law of the BOL represents an “opportunity” for the Filipino people to embrace peace and stability after decades of strife.
“The EU remains a staunch supporter of the Mindanao Peace Process and is prepared to support the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law in the future, in view of long-lasting peace, development and prosperity in Mindanao and for the Filipino people,” EU spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy Maja Kocijancic said.