Duterte made the pronouncement during his visit for the 69th anniversary of Ipil town in Zamboanga Sibugay.
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Duterte signs Bangsamoro Organic Law
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - July 27, 2018 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines —President Duterte announced yesterday that he has signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) that will allow enhanced autonomy in Mindanao.

Duterte made the pronouncement during his visit for the 69th anniversary of Ipil town in Zamboanga Sibugay.

He said he will have to go home for the ceremony with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al-Haj Ebrahim Murad and vice chair Ghazali Jaafar in Davao.

“The BBL is already signed, but I have to go home to attend a ceremony with Jaafar and Murad and everyone,” Duterte said, referring to the BOL’s initial name, Bangsamoro Basic Law.

The President added he will also sit down with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari to determine his role in the peace deal.

Misuari has expressed his opposition to the MILF-led peace deal and would rather wait for the implementation of the federal system instead of joining the Bangsamoro region.

“I can create also just like an autonomy for him if that is what he wants and pending the federal system implementation. For the moment he can wait if he trusts me,” Duterte said.

Duterte said he still has three years to act on the issue presented by Misuari to establish a regional government.

Prior confusion

Earlier, there was apparent confusion after Malacañang officials sent mixed signals on the President’s signing the measure.

In the evening, presidential spokesman Harry Roque confirmed the President has signed the BOL after its transmittal from the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. 

“This is to announce that the President has signed the BOL into law,” Roque said in a text message.

Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) chief Adelino Sitoy said the BOL was received by Malacañang at 7:30 p.m. last Wednesday.

In a press briefing hours before Duterte’s speech in Ipil, Roque said there was no impediment to the signing of the BOL. 

Duterte was supposed to sign the BOL during his third State of the Nation Address last Monday. However, the House of Representatives failed to ratify the measure because of the leadership squabble in the chamber. 

Duterte then made a self imposed deadline of signing the BOL within 48 hours. He had earlier certified the measure as urgent.

Senators and House members last week reconciled their versions of the measure in bicameral meetings.

Even after the Duterte administration is banking on the immediate passage of the BOL in Congress, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it has not been included in the 2019 budget.

Lawmakers, however, said they will provide funds for the implementation of the BOL and the creation of the envisioned new Bangsamoro region.

Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., a senior deputy speaker, yesterday said funds must also be allotted to carry out the Supreme Court (SC) decision increasing the internal revenue allotment (IRA) of provinces, cities, towns and barangays.

“We must find space in the 2019 national budget for these two must-fund items,” he said.

Andaya noted Malacañang did not include funds for the BOL and the SC ruling in its 2019 budget proposal because these did not exist yet when the Palace put together the outlay.

Andaya, who served as budget secretary during the presidency of new Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, pointed out that at least P160 billion would be needed for the Bangsamoro region and increased IRA of local government units (LGUs).

He said the new Muslim entity that would replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) would need P110 billion.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto added he will raise the matter of lack of funding of the BOL with the DBM.

He said the Senate will have to find ways to fund the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as there is no allocation for it in the proposed P3.8-trillion national budget submitted by Malacañang to Congress.

Recto also pointed out the DBM failed to provide for the SC increasing the IRAs for LGUs, estimated to be an additional P160 billion.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said if the proposed BOL is ratified in a plebiscite before the end of the year, there must be some adjustments in the current budget to include at least the share of proceeds from taxes. – With Jess Diaz, Alexis Romero, Paolo Romero, Jaime Laude, Delon Porcalla

Related video:

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