After ‘coup interruptus,’ House OKs BOL
The House of Representatives, under newly-installed Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, ratified the proposed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), putting it one signature away from passage into law.
Shortly after session opened, the 292-member chamber unanimously approved the bicameral conference committee report that reconciled conflicting provisions in the House and Senate versions of the bill.
The BOL will establish a new autonomous region for Muslims in Mindanao and was listed as a deliverable in a peace agreement between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
No objections were raised and the measure was ratified without ceremony, as applause rang out from the gallery.
It was the first measure adopted by the body under Arroyo, who was sworn in as new Speaker on Monday night, replacing Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, in a coup.
Only President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature was needed to enact the BOL following ratification by the two chambers of Congress.
The House was supposed to ratify the BOL on Monday morning in time for the State of the Nation Address (Sona) in the afternoon but the coup to install Arroyo got in the way.
The Senate ratified the measure on schedule.
In his Sona, the President promised to sign the BOL within 48 hours of submission by Congress.
The signing was supposed to be a “master stroke” in the Sona directed by Joyce Bernal.
The President was to sign the BOL during his address but it was not to be after congressmen pulled off a successful coup to unseat Alvarez.
“That was supposed to be director Joyce Bernal’s master stroke in the Sona yesterday,” said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday.
Asked to comment on Bernal’s work on the Sona, Roque said popular perception was that the Sona was easier to understand this time.
There were fewer close ups of the President’s face and more wider shots showing him deliver his Sona, Roque said.
On Monday, Roque said part of the President’s speech had to be revised as a result of the House coup.
Roque said the President was supposed to cite the BOL then sign the measure into law. —With a report from Julie M. Aurelio
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