Palace: No stopping BOL signing now

Published July 26, 2018, 2:44 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

After being delayed for a few days, Malacañang said that it is now all systems go for President Duterte’s signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after the House of Representatives has finally ratified the measure on Tuesday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signs the Republic Act 11033 'Converting the Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology into a State University' and Republic Act 11032 or 'Ease of Doing Business Act' during the ceremonial enactment at Malacañan Palace on May 28, 2018. Joining the President are Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Roque, in a press briefing in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, said the only issue now is whether or not a ceremony will be held for the signing of the measure.

“It’s a matter now really of whether or not we want a ceremony or we just want it signed. But I think it deserves a ceremony, but that’s just me speaking,” he said Thursday afternoon.

“It can be in Davao, it can be in Manila, but there are no obstacles to the President signing the BOL now,” he added.

However, Roque said that he is uncertain if both the Senate and the House of Representatives have already communicated with the Palace about the BOL.

“As far as I know, it was ratified finally by the House and as of the beginning of this press conference, I’m not sure yet if the Palace has actually received formal communication from both houses of Congress,” he said.

The BOL would establish the Bangsamoro government and grants it fiscal autonomy. The measure is one of the pillars of President Duterte’s campaign during the 2016 national polls.

Duterte was supposed to sign the BOL on Monday during his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) but was delayed due to its non-ratification in the House of Representatives.

Unlike the Senate which was able to ratify the bill on Monday morning, the House of Representatives was not able to do the same due to the leadership standoff between congressmen Pantaleon Alvarez and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Formerly known as the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), President Duterte earlier said that the measure would ensure that the elusive peace will finally be obtained in Mindanao.

The President is also hoping that the signing of the BOL would put an end to the conflict between armed groups in the south.

In a speech last April, Duterte said that he is keen on having the BOL signed this year as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has given him a deadline which he agreed to.

I am racing against time. The MILF is in a hurry and has placed on us the burden of a timeline and I agreed on that period,” Duterte revealed.

“I gave my solemn promise and I assure you we are working hard to meet the deadline,” he added, pointing out that he wants to meet with the leaders of the Congress to “remind” them of his commitment to the Moros.