AL-HAJ Murad Ebrahim, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman, celebrated the impending signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), after it was ratified by the Philippine House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 24.

“We really thank the new leadership of the House. We want to extend our appreciation. We are hoping that this is key to moving forward na wala nang sagabal dito (there are no more hindrances) after this,” he said.

The BOL replaces the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with Bangsamoro Region, which will enjoy fiscal autonomy under a duly elected Bangsamoro Parliament.

The inclusion of the six Lanao del Norte municipalities and 39 barangay (villages) of North Cotabato in the Bangsamoro Region will also be provided under the BOL.

The region will also enjoy a bigger share of the taxes collected by the national government — 75 percent, as opposed to the 70 percent that the ARMM currently gets. The rest goes to the national government.

The bill was supposed to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte during his third State of the Nation Address (SONA), however, it fell through when the House majority decided to replace House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez with Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

“Despite all that has been said against the BOL by all sectoral groups, I make this solid commitment that this administration will never deny our Muslim brothers and sisters the basic legal tools to chart their own destiny within their constitutional framework of our country,” Duterte said on Monday, July 23.

“When the approved version is transmitted and received by my office, give me 48 hours to sign it and ratify the law. Babasahin ko muna bago ko pipirmahan, baka may isiningit kayo diyan (I will read it first before signing it because you may have inserted something in it),” he added.

Ebrahim, before members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) on Tuesday, said he was surprised to witness the controversial coup at the House.

“We really need to comfort them because there are very bad experience before. That we are in the finishing line and something will happen,” he said.

“We are trying to get hold of our people on the ground not to do any activity that would be negative to the situation we are facing now,” he added.

Ebrahim has high hopes that the BOL will be signed within the 48-hour timeframe Duterte promised during his SONA. 

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