Lawmakers congratulate each other following the ratification of Bangsamoro Organic Law at the House of Representatives yesterday. Photo courtesy by Michael Varcas/philstar

At last, House unanimously ratifies Bangsamoro Organic Law

Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao— Despite the delay and the hiatus during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte last July 23, the House of Representatives unanimously approved yesterday the proposed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

The approval of the BOL is seen by President Duterte, lawmakers and Mindanao stakeholders as key to promoting lasting peace in Mindanao.

The BOL according to a Philstar report will create a new Muslim regional entity and replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It is the first piece of legislation passed by the House under newly elected Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The House approved the bill with Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., a deputy speaker, presiding over the session and another deputy speaker, Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, serving as acting majority leader, the Philstar report also said.

“As I intend to carry out the legislative agenda of President (Duterte), we will ratify the (BOL) today,” Arroyo said in a statement before the start of the session, the Philstar report said. 

In the same article by Philstar, it quoted Arroyo saying, “Aside from that, I would like to add that I feel it is also the Speaker’s job to make sure that congressmen are able to give the immediate need of their constituents, especially now that we have a lot of calamities affecting the country. We have identified nine districts (in the provinces of Rizal, Zambales, Bataan, Ifugao and Pangasinan) that need a lot of help. So what we are trying to do is to help the nine congressmen give help to their constituents.”

Rep Rudy Fariñas and Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri jointly chaired the bicam conference committee that worked overnights from July 8 in several venues until it was approved on July 18.

Mohagher Iqbal, and other leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and Bangsamoro Transition Commission Chair Ghazali Jaafar along with other BTC Commissioners sat through the conference and accepted the committee’s version.

In a statement made separately by MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, and Iqbal, they said that the BOL is 80%-90% compliant to the 2014 peace deal signed by the GPH and the MILF Peace panels.

In a message posted on Facebook this morning, Iqbal said, "Alhamdulillah, let us humble ourselves with utmost expression of heartfelt gratitudes to all those who push persistently their limits for the approval of BOL. Challenges ahead are greater with gargantuan tasks establishing and running a good and responsive governance in the Bangsamoro. Once again, please be with us in this journey to walk the talk towards establishing a governance where no one is left behind".

The Moro Front is likely to accept the BOL but they need to consult first Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and the Moro people before making a final decision.

The anxiety maybe over but hard works lie ahead for the stakeholders in Moro Homeland. For the Bangsamoro new region to succeed, there is need to put in place qualified, competent, faithful and committed members of the bureaucracy.

In an interview with ANC, Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said, “We want to introduce our idea of governance.”