Bangsamoro law ratified in lower house

 

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

With just one utterance from President Duterte in his 3rd State of the Nation Address last July 23, suddenly the Bangsamoro Organic Law (nee the infamous and flawed Bangsamoro Basic Law) went on high gear and was ratified in the Lower House the day after the SONA, as newly-installed Speaker (former president and now Pampanga Rep.) Gloria Macapagal Arroyo vowed.

 

The day after the SONA, Arroyo announced her commitment, as the newly-elected Speaker, to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law, a day after it was supposed to be signed (by Duterte) into law. She said it was her duty to carry out the president’s legislative agenda. “That means today we must get BOL ratified,” she said last Tuesday.

Not quite surprisingly, the support for BOI swelled among the congressmen with most of the partylist representatives emailing their support and commitment to BOL. Support came from Frederick Siao, long district of Iligan and vice chair of the Committee on Tourism; Kabayan Rep. Ron Salo; 1-Ang Edukasyon Rep. Salvador Belaro Jr; Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy and 1-PACMAN Rep. Michael Romero.

 

Siao congratulated those who made BOL possible, which he described as “the most arduous tasks ever faced in recent memory by the Philippine government.” He appealed to those rejecting it to give the law a chance to be implemented as he urged the voters in the Bangsamoro autonomous region to elect the “most peace-loving, competent and untiring leaders from among your communities.”

 

Salo said that with the ratification of BOL, his Kabayan partylist will support the bills related to the rebuilding Marawi City. “We will also follow through on the funding needed to support the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” he said.

 

The Marawi City Rebuilding Act (House Bill 6700), which he authored, is meant to directly address the unprecedented housing and business crises in the wake of the destruction of homes and businesses in Marawi City.

 

What we propose through this bill is that the residential and commercial buildings to be built in Marawi will be at virtually zero cost to the residents and business owners in Marawi.

 

The Marawi City Rebuilding Act would be a crucial catalyst to rebuild Marawi. We will work even more closely with our colleagues representing Mindanao to make real the commitments made in the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

 

As the Islamic City of the Bangsamoro Region, Marawi occupy a pivotal primary role in Bangsamoro autonomy. It is at the crossroads to Northern Mindanao and other parts of Mindanao. As a strategic city, its rebuilding will spur growth throughout the region, Salo said.

 

Belaro said the congressmen “have given the executive branch more than enough time to formulate their recovery plans. We expect them to submit, as part of the proposed 2019 national budget, at least the first part of the funding needed to rebuild Marawi City.”

 

The two bills that he authored (HB 5833 and HB 6010) contain the broad strokes of key measures needed to rebuild Marawi. Education and the local economy are the focus of these two bills. Marawi City and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region need the proposed Marawi City Polytechnic College.

 

Romero said this new chapter in political, economic, and social relations with the Bangsamoro autonomous region and between Filipino-Muslims and the rest of the Filipino nation is represented by the Bangsamoro Organic Law ratified by Congress and will be signed into law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte very soon.

 

The Bangsamoro Organic Law reflects the best efforts of the negotiators of both sides of the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as well as their respective principals, to carve out and craft a law that remains true to the commitments made during the long peace negotiations and that conforms with the Constitution and Philippine laws, he explained.

 

Herrera-Dy said the BOL is not just important for those residing in the region but also for the Filipino-Muslims who migrated to or have established temporary residence in other parts of the country, including Metro Manila.

 

She said in Quezon City alone, there are large Filipino-Muslim communities in all the congressional districts. “It is my hope that this Bangsamoro Organic Law will prove to our Filipino-Muslim brothers in Mindanao and all over the country that they are very much a part of the present and future of our country, that we care about them and their welfare,” she stressed.

 

We chose to go through the most difficult process of peace talks and then the crafting of this new law because we care about our Filipino-Muslim brothers and sisters. Our country would be incomplete without them because they are truly an essential part of our nation, she concluded. 

 

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