By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte is still hopeful that the newly passed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) will serve its purpose in achieving the long-elusive peace in Mindanao.
Duterte made the statement a week after finally signing the law which establishes the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and grants it fiscal autonomy.
In a speech in Bukidnon Friday, Duterte said he is hoping that the BOL, formerly called the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), will become successful.
“Whether it will be implemented right or not, that’s a story which we have to… It’s still unfolding,” he said.
“So we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed and pray to God that Allah might want also to…” he added.
According to Duterte, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari seems to be biding his time but said he prefers to trust him about the BOL.
“Nur is just biding his time. I do not know his real intention. But ako (me), I trust that Nur would not do anything that’s foolish,” he said.
“Alam naman niya na ako talaga surrender ako (He knows that I really am for peace). I really want peace because even if we want — sabihin ko sa inyo (I’ll tell you) that we are ready and you have the everything in place, I do not want to wage a war against my own countrymen,” he added.
Duterte signed the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OLBARMM), or BOL, last July 26, 2018. He was supposed to sign it during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) early that week but was not able to as it was not ratified in the House of Representatives.
The ceremonial signing of the BOL will be instead held in Malacañang on Monday.
Duterte had expressed that he thinks not everybody will be satisfied with the BOL but hopes that misunderstandings will be cleared up immediately to prevent war.
“Napirmahan ko na ang BBL (I have signed the BBL). I have no expectations, baka hindi magustuhan ng lahat (not everybody may like it),” he said last week after signing the measure.
“Tingnan natin kung kaya i-modify, palitan. ‘Yung ma-disappoint, mag-gyera agad (Let’s see if we can modify or change it. Those who will be disappointed may just start a war)” he added.
Last week, Duterte asked the people in Mindanao to give the BOL a chance as he reiterated his appeal for peace.
“Iyong BBL tapos na. Bigyan lang natin ng panahon. Huwag tayong mag-giyera (The BBL has already been signed. Let’s give it a chance. Let’s not go to war),” Duterte had said.
“Ang problema, ang mga mahirapan ang mga bata, matanda, pati mga babae. Mag-iwan lang tayo ng maraming orphans (The problem is, the children, the elderly, and the women will be the ones who will suffer. We will just leave many orphans behind),” he added.
Malacañang meanwhile is hoping that rebels will lay down their arms now that the government has fulfilled its promise to grant them autonomy.