Hataman said Sunday the creation of Bangsamoro ARMM did not erase ARMM, adding the greater challenge ahead for the Bangsamoro people “is to ensure success in implementing the law.”

“The new law is now here. Let us unite behind it. This is a better law,” Hataman said in a message during Sunday’s presentation of the law before Moro youth groups at the ARMM Complex’s Maguindanao Village here.

Hataman said the peace process had reached the higher plane in legislated political settlement with the passage of BOL.

He described the BOL as one better than the previous Organic Acts that created and expanded the ARMM, respectively in 1989 and in 2001.

The ARMM governor’s observation was shared by lawyer Nabil Tan, Deputy Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, saying the BOL carried vast improvement over the ARMM Organic Law (RA 9054) and the final peace agreement signed between the Philippine government and the Moro National Liberation Front in 1996.

On Aug. 8, more than 700 people flocked to the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Center here to listen to speakers and express support for the newly-passed Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Leading the presentation of the law to the Bangsamoro community were Tan, also chairman of the Government Implementing Panel for the GPH-MILF peace accord, and MILF Implementing Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal.

The gathering followed President Rodrigo Duterte’s presentation of the BOL to the MILF leadership in Malacañang last Monday.

The President said the law “would serve as the final trajectory for the attainment of genuine peace, stability and good governance in Muslim Mindanao.”

Tan said the passage of the BOL marked the start of a new chapter in the lives of the Bangsamoro people.

“This is just the beginning… Much work still needs to be done. We must now double our efforts,” Tan told the forum attended by women, youth, members of the business sector and civil society organizations, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps and foreign donor community.

Tan noted that both the Senate and House of Representatives made sure the landmark measure was crafted “within the bounds of the Philippine Constitution.”

“This is ARMM plus-plus,” Tan said, explaining that with the passage of the BOL, more resources would now be poured into the region to accelerate its economic development.

These resources, he said, included an annual Block Grant that would be allocated in the yearly General Appropriations Act of the national government for the BARMM government to fund its operations for the next 20 years.

Tan said a Special Development Fund would also be provided to fast-track the rehabilitation of conflict-affected areas in the region.
He called on the Bangsamoro people to rally behind the BOL and vote for its upcoming ratification.

“We now have this law. The challenge now is how to make the Bangsamoro government work effectively,” he said.