EU, Japan hail signing of BOL

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

July 27, 2018, 7:05 pm

MANILA-- The Japanese government and the European Union (EU) have welcomed the signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which seeks to establish a new Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

EU said the passage of BOL by the Congress and its signing by President Rodrigo Duterte represents an opportunity for Filipinos to embrace peace and stability after decades of strife.

"It comes after 21 years of formal talks after the first ceasefire agreement between the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). It underlines both parties’ commitment to peace and their ability to tackle a variety of complex matters through a comprehensive and inclusive law," the bloc said in a statement.

As EU acknowledged the contribution of all those involved in the negotiation and adoption of the BOL, it reaffirmed its full support to the Mindanao peace process, and eventually the BOL's implementation.

Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono relayed Tokyo's hopes that the transition process toward the inauguration of Bangsamoro will be steadily implemented, including the ratification of the organic law and the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

"Japan heartily welcomes the enactment of the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regarding the Mindanao peace process," he said in a statement on Thursday.

"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 MILF, and all others concerned," Kano noted.

Japan was one of the staunch supporters of the peace process in the Philippines under the conviction that peace in Mindanao will contribute to regional stability.

As declared in the Japan-Philippines Joint Statement on Bilateral Cooperation for the next five years in October 2017, Tokyo is expected to enhance support for Mindanao's development in a wide range of fields.

Duterte was supposed to sign the BOL before his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday but change of leadership in the House of Representatives delayed the ratification of the bicameral conference committee version of the bill.

On Thursday, June 26, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced President Duterte has signed the BOL into law. (PNA)