Congress ratifies Bangsamoro Organic Law, up for Duterte signing

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 24) —  Congress on Tuesday ratified the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which creates the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

With both Houses of Congress having ratified the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OLBARMM), President Rodrigo Duterte can already sign it into law.

This comes after the House of Representatives failed to ratify the bill before the SONA due to the political power-play that led to the change in leadership. The Senate had ratified the proposed law earlier.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque previously said Duterte would have signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law during his third State of the Nation Address. He was unable to do so as the bill needs to be ratified by both Houses of Congress first.

The Palace said the delay in the ratification was just a "temporary setback," and that it remains hopeful the law would be signed within the week.

During his address, however, Duterte committed to signing the OLBARMM within 48 hours.

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, if passed, would abolish 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 proposed law, which is the result of decades-long peace talks, institutionalizes provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro, the 2014 peace agreement signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

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.