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Senators hopeful BOL will bring ‘elusive peace’ in Mindanao

Senators have expressed optimism that the Organic law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), will finally end decades-long conflict in Mindanao.

“It can bring peace and stability,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said in a media interview after the Senate unanimously ratified the bicameral conference committee report on BOL on Monday during the opening session of the third regular session of the 17th Congress.

The House of Representatives, on the other hand, adjourned its session without ratifying the BOL.

Drilon said the creation of the Bangsamoro government is expected to spur economic development in Mindanao, since over Php50 billion from taxpayers’ money will be given to the region every year.

“I was just sad that the provision of the anti-dynasty was not included in the (BOL),” Drilon said.

For his part, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto expressed hope that with the BOL, “we (wil) finally achieve the elusive peace in Mindanao.”

Recto said the Senate has inserted important provisions that would benefit both the Moro people and the whole country.

Both Drilon and Recto agreed that the BOL provisions, several of which came from the Senate, will hurdle the judicial review in the Supreme Court.

“Because many provisions have been included, I think it will hurdle the constitutional complaints and the Supreme Court will affirm it,” Recto said.

Drilon said he is expecting the BOL to be challenged in the SC but expressed confidence “that the constitutional issue can be tackled properly, and eventually the provisions will be declared as constitutionally compliant”.

Among the provisions adopted in the BOL bicam report include the creation of a Shari’ah High Court, and the joint powers of the Bangsamoro government and national government over the exploration, development, and use of fossil fuels and uranium in the new region.

The bicameral committee approved the 75-25 Bangsamoro and central government wealth sharing. PNA

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