Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza welcomed the House of Representatives decision to ratify the bicameral conference committee report on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on Tuesday, noting that the bill is now ready for President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s signature.
“The ratification of the proposed Bangsamoro Organic Law by the House of Representatives today is a step closer to the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao,” Dureza said in a press statement.
“The bill is now ready for the signature of President Duterte who will sign it anytime now. It’s been a long and arduous road for all,” he added.
Dureza said that once Duterte signs the bill into a law, it will mark “a new beginning” for all Bangsamoro and a peaceful Mindanao and Philippines.
“When President Duterte approves and signs it into law, it will be a new beginning for all Bangsamoro and all citizens to work for a better and peaceful Mindanao and country,” Dureza said.
He acknowledged that it will not be easy, but vowed to stay the course.
The measure seeks to create a new Bangsamoro political entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Ratifying the BOL was the first item completed on the agenda of newly-elected House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Duterte was expected to sign the BOL before his third State of the Nation Address on Monday but it was only the Senate that was able to approve the bicam report on the BOL.
The lower chamber failed to ratify the landmark measure following a change in House speakership where Arroyo replaced Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.
Malacañang earlier said Duterte will sign the BOL as soon as it is ratified by the House of Representatives.
“The President to sign it into law is for the House to ratify the bicam version of the bill. So if it will be ratified later, then the President can sign it tonight,” Roque said.
Roque said “a ceremony of sort” should be held during the signing of the BOL since it did not take center stage in the SONA.
In his SONA, Duterte vowed to sign the BOL after reading the bicameral conference version.
“Despite all that has been said [for] or against the Bangsamoro Organic Law by all sectoral groups, 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,” Duterte said.
“When the approved version is transmitted [to] 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,” he added. PNA