Stakeholders Celebrate, Express Support to BOL

Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao– Bangsamoro Stakeholders mostly members of civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-government organizations (NGOs), youth, women, indigenous peoples (IPs) celebrated and expressed support to the newly-passed Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OLBARRM) or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in Cotabato City, at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex.

On hand to lead the celebration were Nabil Tan, Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser and Chair of the Government Peace Implementing Panel (GPH), and MILF Peace Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal. 

In the presence of hundreds of people who flocked to the complex, Tan turned-over Republic Act No. 11054, or OLBARMM to MILF Peace Panel Chair Iqbal.  

Last Monday, August 6, President Rodrigo Duterte’s presented the BOL to the MILF leadership led by MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebragim at Malacañang. The ceremonial signing coincided with the signing by President Duterte of the National ID System. 

In his message, President Duterte said the law “would serve as the final trajectory for the attainment of genuine peace, stability and good governance in Muslim Mindanao.”

In his remarks during the event in Cotabato City, Tan said the passage of the BOL is the start of a new chapter in the lives of the Bangsamoro people.

“This is just the beginning… Much work still needs to be done. We must now double our efforts,” he told the audience, which includes women, youth, business and civil society organizations, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps and foreign donor community.

Tan noted that both the Senate and House of Representatives made sure the landmark measure was crafted “within the bounds of the Philippine Constitution.”

He called on the Bangsamoro people to rally behind the BOL and vote for its upcoming ratification.

“We now have this law. The challenge now is how to make the Bangsamoro government work effectively,” he said.

For his part, Iqbal said the passage of the BOL signifies a milestone that was achieved by the concerted efforts of all stakeholders in the peace process.

He paid tribute to those who made huge sacrifices that led to the approval of the BOL, particularly members of the MILF leadership who have passed away.

 “We urge you to value this agreement. This peace process is for everyone,” Iqbal said in his speech.

Hashim Manticayan, President of the League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO), expressed his group’s strong support to the law.

“The BOL is a good law to start with as some vital foundations for the future government will provide great opportunities to the Bangsamoro people to pursue their political, social, economic prosperities parallel to Filipinos in metropolitan and even developed Asian neighbors,” Manticayan said.

“It is imperative for all peace-loving people, especially our leaders, to set aside their self-interests and instead join hand-in-hand to give the BOL a chance to prosper,” he added.

 “Now that we have the BOL, more than anything else, this is for the youth, the future generation of the Bangsamoro. They will be ones to reap all of these benefits,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto urged the government to include part of the estimated P2-trillion fund for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in next year’s national budget, said a report by Manila Bulletin.

Recto made the call on the first day of the briefing of government economic managers on the administration’s proposed expenditure program for 2019 before the Senate Committee on Finance on Tuesday.

 “It is up to this government to make the first down payment through the 2019 national budget. The cost of the BOL must be included in next year’s General Appropriations Act,” he said.

In his appeal, Recto lamented that the full cost of the implementation of BOL has yet to be determined despite its signing into law last month.

Recto said it is but right to make good the government’s promise in ending the long-languishing conflict in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“Whatever the amount, we must fund it. A costly peace is better than a cheap war,” he said.

Recto estimated that the implementation of the BOL will cost P109 billion in the first year, P369 billion in the first three years, (Source: OPAPP News, MB)