“A pivotal and historic milestone in Mindanao’s quest for a just and lasting peace.”

This was the response of Senate Trade and Commerce Committee Sen. Koko Pimentel III to the Commission on Election’s proclamation that the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) had been ratified with 1,540,017 residents voting in favor of ratification and only 198,750 voting to reject the BOL.

“The Comelec, sitting en banc as the National Plebiscite Board of Canvassers hereby proclaims… the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as deemed ratified,” announced Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Sheriff Abas Friday evening.

Pimentel, who was the author of the BOL in the Senate, said that the law’s proper implementation “is one of the keys to unlocking the economic potential of the region, and a critical step to fulfilling the promise of Mindanao, which has been held back by decades of armed conflict.”

“Regional peace and stability and complementary national measures like the Ease of Doing Business Law will fuel economic development and attract the investments Mindanao needs. Hindi lang Mindanao makikinabang, kundi buong bansa,” said the Mindanao-born legislator.

Pimentel noted that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was cited as the country’s fifth fastest growing region in 2017, with a growth rate of 7.3 percent that year boosted by the recovery of the area’s agriculture sector.

“The country is benefiting from its seventh consecutive year of sustained economic growth. Spurring development in Mindanao will serve to ensure that this upward trajectory continues,” explained the senator.

“Spurring development in Mindanao will serve to ensure that this upward trajectory continues.”

According to Pimentel, the government’s mission “goes beyond the ratification of the BOL.”

“We know from recent history that laying the groundwork for peace must be followed by a sustained effort at keeping the peace. Dito kailangan natin magkaisa at magtulungan—kailangan kumilos agad para ang BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) at ang Mindanao ay tunay na umunlad.”

“We know from recent history that laying the groundwork for peace must be followed by a sustained effort at keeping the peace.”

The new region will be composed of the five provinces currently comprising the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), as well as Cotabato City.

A second round of the plebiscite on Feb. 6 will determine whether the BARMM will still be expanded.

The BOL under Republic Act No. 11054 provides for the establishment of an autonomous political entity known as the BARMM, which will replace the 29-year-old ARMM.

Signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 26, 2018, the BOL is the product of years of negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The BARMM will have its own executive, legislature and fiscal powers. The Bangsamoro government will be headed by a chief minister and two deputy ministers to be elected from the parliament, 50 percent of which will be composed of political party representatives, 40 percent by parliamentary district representatives, and 10 percent by sectoral representatives and reserved seats for non-Moro indigenous peoples and settler communities.

All parliament members will serve for a term of three years and for a maximum of three consecutive terms. The parliament is empowered to enact its own laws.

Under the law, the BARMM will be granted 5 percent of the national internal revenue amounting to at least P60 billion to P70 billion a year, which will be released to the region automatically, apart from the power to impose some taxes currently being levied by the national government. The BARMM’s share of taxes collected by the national government from the region will increase to 75 percent as compared to the 70 percent the ARMM currently receives.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *