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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Duterte open to amendments to Bangsamoro law

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has expressed willingness to review and propose amendments to the contentious provisions in the recently-signed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to make it acceptable to all Filipinos, Malacañang said on Monday, July 30.

"You know, nothing is perfect. And of course, the BOL signed into law is a result of compromise. So all that the President was saying was, if you have specific complaints, we're open to discuss[ing] these complaints with a view of possibly amending further the law," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. told Palace reporters.

"But I think the general sentiment of the President is if there are those who want to object because of specific revisions, we're open to reviewing the specific provisions," he added.

On July 27, Duterte signed the much-awaited BOL, formerly known as the Bangsamoro Basic Law, that will create the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in place of the former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The BOL, however, did not bear the signature of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

But Roque said Arroyo's failure to sign the law was not a problem, stressing that it would be "easily cured."

The signing of the Bangsamoro law, or Republic Act (RA) 11054, is among Duterte's campaign promises to allow Moro people to enjoy self-governance over their territories in the southern Philippines.

The law is based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, a peace pact signed between the Aquino government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.

The BOL overhauls the current setup in Mindanao as it grants the new Bangsamoro region greater control over resources and political power.

Under RA 11054, the BARMM is composed of Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, six municipalities of Lanao del Norte, 39 villages of North Cotabato, and chartered cities of Cotabato and Isabela.

However, a plebiscite is necessary to legalize the creation of the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region that would replace the ARMM.

Roque acknowledged that some Moro people, especially those residing in Sulu, opposed the new law.

He said the Chief Executive would exhaust all efforts to ensure that long-lasting peace in Mindanao will be achieved.

"We all know that Sulu traditionally is a bastion of opposition for BOL. So he's willing to sit down with Sulu and talk about possible amendments," he said.

"As of now, it's just really a strong message [of Duterte] that 'If you're not happy with BOL, come talk to me,'" Roque added.

Asked if possible amendments to the BOL would take more time, the Palace official said: "Of course, like any law, it would have to require Congressional action. Hindi naman po (mag-tatagal) kasi for now, we have BOL. So let's see whatever changes they may want from the BOL."

(Of course, like any law, it would have to require Congressional action. It would not take more time because for now, we have BOL. So let's see whatever changes they may want from the BOL.) (SunStar Philippines)


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