News SONA 2018 Promise Tracker

SONA 2018 Promise Tracker: Peace agenda

President Rodrigo Duterte fulfilled the crux of his peace agenda, as promised in his third State of the Nation Address (SONA): the signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to “finally end the decades-old conflict that is rooted in the Bangsamoro’s fight for self-determination and the recognition of their unique identity.”

In a referendum, Muslims in southern Philippines approved the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), replacing the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The BARMM covers the original ARMM provinces (Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan except Isabela City, Sulu and Tawi-tawi), Cotabato City and 63 towns in North Cotabato.

The leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which has signed a peace agreement with the government, heads the new autonomous Muslim region.

The government has expressed willingness to reintegrate into the community and provide social assistance to rebels including Islamic-State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-Maute armed group.

Peace talks with the communist rebels have reached a stalemate with President Duterte announcing on March 2018 the termination of peace negotiations between the government panel and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Halfway through his term, see below to track Duterte’s promises in “pursuit of peace” in Mindanao.

PROMISE: Sign BOL into law in 48 hours

“Despite all that has been said [for] or against the Bangsamoro Organic Law by all sectoral groups, I make this solemn commitment that this administration will never deny our Muslim brothers and sisters the basic legal tools to chart their own destiny within the Constitutional framework of our country.

When the approved version is transmitted and received by my office… The law has been passed actually and I intend to… Give me 48 hours to sign it and ratify the law.” (SONA 2018)


Duterte signed the BOL on July 27, 2018, a few days after his third SONA.

Formerly named as Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the BOL was supposed to be approved by Duterte during his SONA but was delayed after the House of Representatives failed to pass the bill before adjournment the same day due to a leadership squabble in the House.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) held a plebiscite on Jan. 21 and Feb. 6, 2019 in the entire Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, including Cotabato City and Isabela, Basilan to ratify BOL and determine inclusion of areas under Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

On Jan. 25, 2019, the Comelec announced that the BOL is “deemed ratified,” which meant the abolition of the ARMM and creation of Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which is responsible for the transition plan from ARMM to the new Bangsamoro region.

PROMISE: Reintegrate members of Maute-ISIS back to society

“I have made a pledge that ISIS terrorists or groups or its allies will never gain foothold in our country. Yet, when what remained of the decimated Maute-ISIS group in Marawi finally saw the error of their ways and expressed their desire to be reintegrated into society, we welcomed them with open arms and embarked on genuine efforts to embrace a peaceful, productive life for them.” (SONA 2018)


On April 3, 2018, Task Force Balik-Loob was created through Administrative Order (AO) no. 10 to oversee the provision of social assistance and reintegration of surrendering rebels including the ISIS-Maute into mainstream society.

Following the liberation of Marawi City in the five-month-long siege between the government troops and the Islamic-State (IS) linked armed group Maute on October 17, 2017, there have been 46 Maute-ISIS surrenderees profiled by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

PROMISE: Decision on the peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF

“Kayong mga Left, I will not talk to you. Why should I?” (SONA 2017)

“To immediately stop violence on the ground, restore peace in the communities and provide an enabling environment conducive to the resumption of the peace talks. I am now announcing a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP/NPA/NDF effective immediately, and call on our Filipinos in the National Democratic Front and its forces to respond accordingly.” (SONA, 2016)


Duterte announced the termination of peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDF) in March 2019.

In his second SONA, Duterte expressed severing ties with the Left deviating from his original pronouncement that he will be the “first leftist president.”

The administration has since filed a petition in the Manila Regional Trial Court to classify CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations.


Presidential Commissions Operations Office, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the Presentation of the Signed Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Aug. 6, 2018

State of the Nation Address

On BOL Ratification

On reintegration of ISIS-Maute back to society

On of peace talks with CPP-NPA-NDF

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)