MANILA - Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza on Friday said he is confident the government will have funds to implement the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
His remarks came a day after the country's economic managers told the Senate during the 2019 budget hearing that there is no budget yet for the BOL implementation.
Dureza said there are contingent funds that may be used for that purpose, but left it to DBM Sec. Benjamin Diokno where to source the funds.
"You cannot have a law that will be, what, inutile, without what, logistical support of the government," he said.
He highlighted the importance of the passage and eventual implementation of the landmark legislation.
"Our apprehension is if hindi natin ipinasa ang BOL, e baka maging trigger pa yan for more unpeace in Mindanao," he said.
"So naitawid natin ngayon, but I always say that even if we have the law in place, andami pang gagawin. There are still a lot of challenges that we have to face. Everybody must have to stay the course and cooperate dahil ang expectations ngayon mataas, di ba, by the public. We have to meet those expectations early," he added.
After a recent bombing in Basilan which claimed 10 lives, Dureza hopes the BOL will be able to address terror threats in Mindanao.
"Ang talaga namang basic spirit ng BOL is to provide our Bangsamoro the opportunity to govern their own lives in accordance with their customs, traditions, and the way they will run their government. So with that, we are very confident that the Muslims themselves, the Bangsamoro themselves, will be able to deal with this internally, within their own territory, within their own area," he said.
Dureza said he had been "negotiating" with the Abu Sayyaf in the past for the release of hostages.
"We have to clarify that word 'negotiating.' Ako I have been negotiating with them to be able to save lives, remember? Nakakuha tayo ng ilan from the Abu Sayyaf. So we continue to deal and talk with those where we need to save lives and have a good result of some of our effort na matagal na," he said.
"There is a window now for those in that sector creating chaos and terroristic activities in our countryside that they can start already thinking about how they could come in and start taking a new leaf in their lives, di ba? And the President has openly expressed it. Ang sabi pa nga niya, o yung binibigay natin doon sa supposedly NPA surrenderees, ibigay din natin maski doon sa mga Muslim Abu Sayyaf kung gusto na nila tumahimik," he added.
He, however, refused to comment on claims by Islamic State that it was behind the Basilan blast.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier announced they are looking into the possibility that a Moroccan is involved in the bombing.
Dureza made these remarks on the sidelines of a Cordillera Autonomy Leaders' Forum with the senators in Manila on Friday.
Bills creating a Cordillera autonomous region are currently pending in the Congress.
"We’re looking at the BOL as a pilot for a federal setup but uniquely Bangsamoro...Kaya now na naitawid na natin ‘yung BOL with the Bangsamoro, we’re hoping meron na tayong template din to deal also with aspirations of the Cordillerans," he said.
The forum with the senators was an opportunity for Cordilleran leaders to push for the autonomy of the Cordillera region.