Duterte urges Pinoys to join BOL discussions

MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday enjoined all Filipinos to participate in constructive discussions on the newly-signed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) as part of collective efforts to sustain lasting peace, not just in Mindanao, but in the entire country.

I ask my Bangsamoro brothers and sisters, as well as the indigenous communities and Christian settlers living within the Bangsamoro areas, to actively participate in constructive discussions about the law in your homes, in your villages, and communities, Duterte said in his speech during the ceremonial reenactment of the signing of the BOL and the signing of the national ID law in MalacaAang.

But more importantly, I encourage you to take part in the upcoming plebiscite so that you may express your sovereign will through the ballot, he added.

Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza told reporters in an ambush interview that the plebiscite on the BOL could take place by late November or early December.

Duterte, meanwhile, expressed hope that the BOL would be given a chance to succeed in providing the Bangsamoro with more autonomy while at the same time keeping the country indivisible.

Let us work together as we continue the healing and reconciliation process. Let us give this law a chance to address the Bangsamoro people's aspiration for genuine autonomy, while preserving our bond as a single nation and affirming the sovereignty of the indivisible Republic of the Philippines, he added.

Duterte said he was proud to present a landmark legislative measure, which will help chart a future where very Filipino regardless of ethnicity, culture, or religious affiliation, can enjoy freedom.

He thanked the lawmakers responsible for supporting his administration's legislative agenda - including former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Indeed, the passage of these laws speak well of their able leadership and firm resolve to rise above divisive partisan politics, Duterte said.

The Chief Executive also expressed gratitude to the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) for their unwavering commitment in pursuing the passage of the BOL.

May this serve as the final trajectory for the attainment of genuine peace, stability, [and] good governance in Muslim Mindanao, Duterte said.

Earlier, Duterte said he is keeping his fingers crossed that the BOL will be implemented right.

Tapos ko 'yang BBL (referring to BOL), whether it will be implemented right or not, that's a story which we have to it's still unfolding, Duterte said in his speech during the inauguration of the Northern Mindanao Wellness and Reintegration Center in Bukidnon on Friday.

So we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed and pray to God that Allah might want also to, he added.

Last July 26, Duterte signed the BOL, or Republic Act 11054, a law that will establish a new Bangsamoro political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), but did not hold any ceremony.

Formerly known as the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the BOL is premised on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, a signed peace deal.

The law is part of the Duterte administration's effort to achieve national rapprochement with the Moro rebel groups.

Congress has had several hearings on the BOL to make sure that the law is within the bounds of the Constitution, national sovereignty and territorial integrity, at the same time ensuring that the interests of all sectors are respected.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier described Monday's event as a ceremonial reenactment of the signing since Duterte had already signed it. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency