MALABANG, Lanao del Sur—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday urged the Muslim population in Mindanao to immediately develop the region now that the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) is being implemented.
“Now that you have the BOL, I guarantee you exploit your resources. Madaliin na ninyo. Ang sabi ninyong Liguasan Marsh… walang makialam niyan, inyo ‘yan. That was my commitment to you,” President Duterte said in a speech during the commemoration of the 121st anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence.
“You don’t have the money…look for partners…exploit your territory of the riches. Para ‘yan sa mga anak ninyo, hindi na ‘yan para sa inyo. That was really reserved for our children. Exploit it. Exploit the natural resources and make the Moro rich.”
The country’s Muslims, following the approval of the BOL, must extract the wealth of the region that is “undisturbed, unbridled, and unmolested” since it was given to them by the Filipino nation following a long peace process.
The Liguasan Marsh, believed to be containing huge gas deposits, must be tapped by the Muslims themselves, the President said, noting his government will not allow interference by non-Muslims.
If the Muslims want to widen the scope of the BOL, they can do so, the President said, adding he could also accommodate Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari.
“And if Misuari is willing…same. I’ll give it to him para lang makaabot natin ‘yung kapayapaan,” he said.
BOL’s implementation is seen as 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.
The BOL under Republic Act No. 11054 provides for the establishment of an autonomous political entity known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which replaces the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The BOL, which was signed into law by President Duterte on July 26, 2018, is the product of years of negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). PND