First on Arroyo’s agenda: Ratify Bangsamoro law, aid to calamity victims

MANILA, Philippines – On her first full day as House Speaker, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said that the first thing she would work on as the new leader of the House of Representatives is the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Arroyo made the commitment in a chance interview with the media upon arriving at the Batasang Pambansa at around 3 pm  on Tuesday, July 24.

“I view my role as Speaker with having a primary and specific objective, that is to carry out the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. And that means for today, we must get the Bangsamoro Organic Law ratified,” the Pampanga 2nd District Representatives told reporters.

Both the House and the Senate were set to ratify the BOL on Monday morning, July 23, so that Duterte could sign it into law before his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) that afternoon.

But this did not happen following the ouster   of Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez as speaker, which delayed the SONA for more than hour. 

Arroyo also said she would assis lawmakers representing 9 districts that were badly hit the southwest monsoon enhanced by several tropical cyclones. 

“Right now, I am very glad soon we will have an end to politicking hopefully this afternoon so that we can attend to the calamities of various districts that compose our Congress who have been hit,” she said,

“Just today, we have identified about 9 district which have been very badly hit by the typhoon. And we would like to help our congressmen be able to address, at least for today or this coming week, the immediate needs of their constituents. That is the task that we see for ourselves this week,” Arroyo added.

Prior to her arrival at the House, Arroyo met with her allies at her La Vista home in Quezon City.

During that meeting, the lawmakers set up Arroyo’s transition team who will help ensure an easier transition of Arroyo as House leader  They are as follows: 

Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles told reporters members of Arroyo’s transition team met with the Alvarez bloc ahead of the 4 pm session. Arroyo herself had yet to speak to Alvarez. 

For now, committee chairpersons and deputy speakers appointed  by Alvarez get to keep their post, but Arroyo is expected to change the House leadership as well in the coming days. –

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.