Duterte open to reviewing BOL provisions: Palace

MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte is open to reviewing provisions in the recently signed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) if there are sectors that are not satisfied with it, MalacaAang said on Monday.

I think the general sentiment of the President is if there are those who object, we're open to reviewing those specific provisions, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

On July 26, Roque announced that Duterte has finally signed the landmark legislation, which is expected to pave the way for lasting peace in Mindanao.

Roque explained that traditionally, Sulu did not want to be part of the BOL, which seeks to establish a new Bangsamoro political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). But according to him, things have changed.

Yung pinuntahan ni Presidente sa Jolo, e maraming tumututol sa Sulu (The place the President visited in Sulu, there are many who are against the BOL in Sulu) just because traditionally Sulu does not want to be part of it but I think things have changed), Roque said.

I think this is already the fourth or fifth trip of the President to Jolo, Sulu. I don't think any other President has made this any trips to Sulu and I think the message of the President is that he really wants to reach out to the people of Sulu and he wants lasting peace in Sulu, Roque said.

Duterte was in Jolo, Sulu last Friday to visit victims displaced by a fire in Jolo, Sulu and vowed to provide the local government with financial aid and additional fire trucks.

Not rushed

Roque acknowledged that the BOL might not be perfect since it is a result of compromise among sectors involved, but refused to consider it as rushed.

It wasn't really rushed. It's been there, it's been pending, it took us almost a year to discuss the BOL, there's been substantial consultations. I note that the President even called members of Congress and Senate at least three times to the Palace, Roque said.

Although, you know, nothing is perfect and of course the BOL as signed in the law is a result of compromise. So all that the President was saying is that if you have specific complaints, we're open to discuss these complaints in the view of possibly amending it, he added.

Should there be revisions, Roque assured that like any law, it would have to require congressional action.

For now we have the BOL, so let's see whatever changes they may want from the BOL, Roque said.

Roque said Duterte has not yet decided on whether a formal signing ceremony should be held for the BOL. However, he said he personally feels the need for one.

Si Presidente talaga hindi mahilig sa seremonya (The President is really not fond of ceremonies). I would personally want to see a ceremony but it's not my decision so I'll find out today. I think we deserve one, Roque said.

Reaching out to Nur Misuari

Roque, meanwhile, said that Duterte is also reaching out to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari and even willing to accommodate some of his wishes.

I think he's reaching out specifically to Nur Misuari and he's willing to listen to Nur Musari and accommodate some of Nur Misuari's wishes, if it can be accommodated, but as of now I think it's just really a strong message that if you're not happy with BOL, come talk to me, Roque said.

ASG surrenderers welcome

Moreover, Roque said that Duterte is also open to accepting surrenderers from the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) noting that he would provide them with housing, capital, land and employment.

I think what he's saying is that in the same way he has been accepting surrenderers from the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), MNLF, and NPA (New People's Army), he's willing to accept surrenderers from the ASG, Roque said.

So what he means is surrender and you will be given a new lease on life. That's as far as I understood the totality of what the President said on the basis of the transcript, he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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