During his third State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Roa Duterte vowed to sign the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) despite the failure of the House of Representatives (HoR) to ratify it on Monday, July 23, 2018.
The lower chamber failed to ratify the BOL because the change of leadership unseating House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and replacing him with former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Earlier, the Senate already unanimously ratified its version of the legislation.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque described the failure of the HoR to ratify the BOL as a “temporary setback.”
“We find it unfortunate that the Bangsamoro Organic Law was not ratified before the adjournment of today’s session of the House of Representatives,” Secretary Roque said in a press statement before Duterte’s SONA.
“We consider this as a temporary setback in the administration’s goal of laying the foundation for a more genuine and lasting peace in Mindanao,” Sec. Roque said.
Duterte expected to sign the BOL before delivering his SONA, but noted that his commitment for Muslim Filipinos still stands.
“Despite all that has been said [for] or against the Bangsamoro Organic Law by all sectoral groups, I make this solemn commitment that this administration will never deny our Muslim brothers and sisters the basic legal tools to chart their own destiny within the Constitutional framework of our country,” Duterte said.
Duterte said once the HoR has ratified it, he requested them to give him two days to review it before signing it into a law.
“When the approved version is transmitted and received by my office… The law has been passed actually and I intend to… Give me 48 hours to sign it and ratify the law,” he added.
“Babasahin ko pa bago ko pipirmahan. Baka may isiningit kayo diyan na hindi maganda para sa — para sa ibang tao (I will read it first before signing it. You might have included something not good for–for other people),” Duterte said.
Meanwhile, Duterte also reiterated to exert efforts to give Muslim Filipinos, particularly those in the war-torn Marawi City a “peaceful and productive” life.
“We will need loads of understanding and patience to endure and overcome the birth pangs or pains of the new beginning. To me, war is not an option. We have been through the catastrophe in Marawi. We have seen the horror, the devastation, and the human toll and the displacement of both Christians and Muslims alike,” Duterte said.
“I have made a pledge that ISIS terrorists or groups or its allies will never gain foothold in our country. Yet, when what remained of the decimated Maute-ISIS group in Marawi finally saw the error of their ways and expressed their desire to be reintegrated into society, we welcomed them with open arms and embarked on genuine efforts to embrace a peaceful, productive life for them,” he added.
Duterte also thanked soldiers and police officers in Marawi who continue to protect Filipinos from conflict.