International community hails new Bangsamoro law in PH

The recent signing of the Philippines’ Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which seeks to establish a new Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, was commended by the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), and the Japanese government.

In a statement responding to the passage of BOL by the Congress and its signing by President Rodrigo Duterte, European Commission for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said it “represents an opportunity for Filipinos to embrace peace and stability after decades of strife.”

“It comes after 21 years of formal talks after the first ceasefire agreement between the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). It underlines both parties’ commitment to peace and their ability to tackle a variety of complex matters through a comprehensive and inclusive law,” Kocijancic said.

The EU reaffirmed its full support to the Mindanao peace process, and eventually the BOL’s implementation in view of long-lasting peace, development and prosperity in Mindanao and for the Filipinos. “It underlines both parties’ commitment to peace and their ability to tackle a variety of complex matters through a comprehensive and inclusive law,” Kocijancic said.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres also hailed the Philippine government and the MILF, the Bicameral Conference Committee, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and civil society groups for their efforts on the passage and signing of the BOL.

“The United Nations will continue to support the Philippines in the implementation of the law and to help build the capacity of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority as an effective conduit for peace, democratic governance and human rights,” the UN statement said.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Tokyo hopes that the transition process toward the inauguration of Bangsamoro will be steadily implemented, including the ratification of the organic law and the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

“Japan heartily welcomes the enactment of the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regarding the Mindanao peace process,” Kono said.

“The enactment of this law is an important step toward the establishment of the new autonomous government (Bangsamoro) in Mindanao. Japan sincerely commends the efforts of the Government of the Philippines, the MILF, and all others concerned,” Kano said.

Japan is one of the staunch supporters of the peace process in the Philippines under the conviction that peace in Mindanao will contribute to regional stability.

As declared in the Japan-Philippines Joint Statement on Bilateral Cooperation for the next five years in October 2017, Tokyo is expected to enhance support for Mindanao’s development in a wide range of fields.

President Duterte finally signed the BOL into law on July 26, 2018, after it was delayed. He was supposed to sign the BOL before his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July l23 but change of leadership in the House of Representatives delayed the ratification of the bicameral conference committee version of the bill.

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