Could President Rodrigo Duterte be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize soon?
Duterte is emerging as a possible nominee for the coveted prize following the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), a landmark legislation which will give Muslim Filipinos in Mindanao a greater degree of autonomy in self-governance.
De La Salle University political science professor Richard Heydarian credited Duterte’s spirited push for the BOL for its passage. He noted that the then-Davao City mayor already made self-autonomy for the Bangsamoros a hallmark of his presidential campaign despite the opposition of majority of Filipinos to it.
“Duterte grasps the depth of Muslim alienation — and the danger it poses, as the violence has repeatedly shown. Currently, there is not a single Muslim Supreme Court Justice or senator in the Philippines, and no Moro has been a major contender for top executive positions. Though nominally Christian, Duterte promised in 2016: ‘If I become president, if Allah gives his blessing, before I die since I am old, I will leave to you all a Mindanao that is governed in peace,'” Heydarian wrote in an opinion piece published in the Nikkei Asian Review website.
With the BOL ratified, Heydarian said Mindanaoans can “cautiously hope” for lasting peace after suffering from decades of conflict. The law paves the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which will have its own court and legislature.
“[A] controversial president, his name mostly associated with a scorched-earth war on drugs, might yet have a claim to be a peacemaker,” he said.