Senators laud Duterte’s signing of Bangsamoro Organic Law

By Jose Cielito Reganit

July 27, 2018, 10:18 pm

MANILA -- Senators on Friday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), expressing their hopes that lasting peace and development may soon be achieved in Mindanao.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri thanked Duterte for signing the BOL as he promised.

“It took a Mindanaon President to finally get this done, and this will be his administration's legacy,” Zubiri said.

Senator Panfilo Lcason said while the BOL may not be perfect, credit should be given to Duterte’s strong political for pushing for the passage of the BOL.

“The Bangsamoro Organic Law is not perfect, but is a big leap towards peace in Mindanao. Or so we hope. Much credit goes to President Duterte and his strong political will in this regard,” Lacson said in a statement.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said the signing is a “momentous moment in the Muslim Mindanao region.”

He said he had seen and experienced how all the stakeholders – the national government, the Bangsamoro Transition Committee, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) – negotiate and compromise all in the name of peace.

“What is important is the stability of the region. I've seen how the two groups really give in for the sake of peace because they want stability,” Gatchalian said.

He said the signing of the BOL proves that there is always a way to work out Filipinos' differences and come together to achieve lasting peace.

“I think this is also a good message to our friends in the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army), again, putting a lot of emphasis in compromise,” he said.

“Instead of fighting, let us instead work together and channel our energies into more productive pursuits," Gatchalian said.

Meanwhile, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara thanked the President, as well as both chambers of Congress, for prioritizing the passage of the BOL.

“As chairman of the Senate committee on local government, it is my hope that the greater powers and autonomy given the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao will be used for the greater good and welfare of its residents. We are hopeful that a new chapter in the history of the Bangsamoro will make their lives better,” Angara said.

Senator Nancy Binay said the passage of the BOL only shows that true local autonomy can be achieved within the framework, context, ideals and spirit of the 1987 Constitution.

"The BOL surprisingly has given us that 'eureka' moment. We have finally found the way to strengthening regions and local governments all within the constitutional framework as intended in the Local Government Code, and by giving our Muslim brothers and sisters the inherent right to govern themselves and defining a territory without raising a different flag,” Binay said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the passage of the BOL showed that the opposition can rise above politics to bring lasting peace in Mindanao.

Drilon personally wrote the 55 powers granted to the Bangsamoro government under the BOL.

“I am glad that we passed the BOL in the manner that we passed it. We showed to the administration that we can rise beyond politics. I can claim lot of contributions to the BOL, notwithstanding the fact that I am the Minority Leader. I cooperated and pushed for this bill because we know that this is for the peace and stability of Mindanao,” Drilon said. (PNA)