MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr said the ratified Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) ends the era of war in Mindanao.
Galvez said on Sunday, January 27, that the BOL is an "instrument that can help heal the wounds of past injustices."
"A bright new dawn emerges in Mindanao with the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law. The era of war has finally ended," said Galvez.
"The BOL means justice to the people who took the ultimate sacrifices.... The BOL is our bridge to an enduring peace and sustainable development for the next generations," he added.
The Commission on Elections already deemed the BOL as ratified, which means the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The ARMM has long been called a "failed experiment" because of its dependence on the national government in Metro Manila as well as accusations of corruption and mismanagement.
The BARMM will be a more powerful region, as it will receive an unconditional budget allocation of around P60 billion to P70 billion annually from the national budget. (READ: Bangsamoro region: 'We have a new government – and another journey')
It will have its own parliament, to be composed of representatives from the current ARMM provinces, additional territories that voted to join the BARMM, and representatives for women, Christians, and indigenous peoples.
But Galvez said there is still "much work" to be done to achieve peace in Mindanao.
In a separate statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that the BARMM will be in place "as soon" as President Rodrigo Duterte forms the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority, which will oversee the interim government.
"The quest to lasting peace in that region saw not only the bloody encounters among the Muslim combatants but spawned more conflicts as well, giving birth to more armed groups and violent hostilities to the sufferance of the Bangsamoro people and the Christian inhabitants," said Panelo.
"To the credit of the Muslim warriors, they made way to another thrust for the elusive peace as they participated in a democratic process weighing in their collective voice. The President hopes that the ratification of the BOL will commence the process of correcting the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people," he added.
Panelo said the path to peace for the Bangsamoro region will not be delayed by the pending Supreme Court petitions questioning the constitutionality of the BOL.
"The ruling however remains in the realm of imponderables. We cannot be waylaid...in the race to peace and progress," he said.
Panelo then called on all BOL stakeholders to unite and ensure that an autonomous government will be responsive to the needs of the Bangsamoro people.
"We urge the people in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to give their new leaders their support and cooperation but at the same we implore them to be vigilant and assertive of their rights. We also call on the mandated leaders to be fealty to their oaths of office," said Panelo.
A BOL plebiscite in Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato will still be held on February 6. Malacañang is hoping for a "favorable result" in these areas, too. – Rappler.com