Duterte to sign Bangsamoro Organic Law within 48 hours

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 23) — President Rodrigo Duterte committed to signing the Bangsamoro Organic Law within two days during his third State of the Nation Address on Monday.

"When the approved version was transmitted and received by my office, the law has been passed and I intend to… Give me 48 hours to sign it and ratify the law," Duterte said.

Duterte also said in jest that he still needs to read the final version approved by the congressional bicameral conference committee as there might be unfavorable provisions added.

The President's pronouncement was met with applause from the lawmakers who attended the annual affair at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

"I make the 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 added.

He said peace must be promoted in Mindanao, citing the five-month siege in Marawi City amid gunfights between ISIS-inspired Maute rebels and government troopers.

"To me, war is not an option. We have been through the catastrophe in Marawi. We have seen the horror, the devastation, the human toll, and the displacement of both Christians and Muslims alike," Duterte said.

"I have made a pledge that ISIS tourists or groups or its allies will never regain foothold in our country," he added.

Duterte added he wants to see "the promise of Mindanao fulfilled" before the end of his term, saying his administration is working on "significant increases" in the budget for the South.

Before the President could sign the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OLBARMM) into law, the Senate and House of Representatives need to ratify it first.

READ: Senate ratifies bill on Bangsamoro Organic Law

The Senate has ratified the proposed measure earlier on Monday, but the House failed to do the same due to changes in leadership.

READ: House failure to ratify proposed Bangsamoro Organic Law a 'temporary setback' - Palace

The Malacañang said Duterte was supposed to sign the OLBARMM during his SONA, but the delay prevented him from doing so.

Duterte, the first Philippine President who hails from Mindanao, earlier certified the bill as urgent, prompting Congress to fast-track the passage of the draft measure. The bicameral conference committee approved the final version of the bill on July 18.

The historic law abolishes the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) established in 1989 through Republic Act No. 6734. The ARMM groups the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

The ARMM will then be replaced by the the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The OLBARMM is the result of decades-long peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mindanao (MILF).

The law institutionalizes provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro, the 2014 peace agreement signed by the government and the MILF that ended decades-long armed conflict in Mindanao.

The Bangsamoro government will be parliamentary-democratic in form, a first in the country's political history. It will be headed by the regional leader called Chief Minister, who will preside over an 80-member parliament.