Show of force for Bangsamoro law | Inquirer News

Show of force for Bangsamoro law

Iqbal says new autonomous region to benefit non-Muslims, too
/ 05:18 AM December 11, 2018
Show of force for Bangsamoro law

PEACE SYMBOL Moro leaders and government officials release doves to symbolize peace during the launch of the campaign for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law in Cotabato City. PHOTO COURTESY OF OPAPP

At least 15,000 people gathered at the compound of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in Cotabato City on Monday as the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) launched the campaign for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Mohagher Iqbal, MILF peace implementing panel chair, said the campaign, organized by the government-MILF Joint Communications Committee, aimed to drumbeat support for the creation of the new Bangsamoro region.


The launch was simultaneously held in other provinces or areas covered by the plebiscite, scheduled in January and February next year, he said.

“The BOL is for the welfare not only of the Bangsamoro people but [also of] non-Muslims residing in the Bangsamoro areas. The BOL is a formula for peace, development and progress,” Iqbal said.


Campaign period

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) had set the campaign period for the ratification of BOL or Republic Act No. 11054 (Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or BARMM) from Dec. 7 to Jan. 19, 2019.

There will be two dates for voting: Jan. 21 for voters in the ARMM and the cities of Cotabato and Isabela, and Feb. 6 for Lanao del Norte province (except Iligan City), six towns in North Cotabato province and other areas that petitioned for inclusion in the future Bangsamoro region.


Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the separate dates for the plebiscite “would allow time for the full resolution of petitions for voluntary inclusion in the plebiscite.”

Jimenez said the poll body had to resolve 99 petitions for inclusion in the BARMM, the new political entity that would replace the 28-year-old ARMM once the BOL was ratified.

Show of force for Bangsamoro law

The BOL is a formula for peace, development and progress
Mohagher Iqbal
MILF peace implementing
panel chair

Maj. Arvin Encinas, 6th Infantry Division spokesperson, said no untoward incident happened at the huge gathering or at the peripheries of Cotabato City, noting that the security for the activity was well-planned through the coordination of the military, police and the MILF.


The activity, however, caused traffic jams in the city, Encinas said.

The MILF’s political party, United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), will campaign for the ratification of the BOL, said Sammy Al-Mansoor, UBJP secretary general.

“We are confident the ‘yes’ votes will win in the areas covered by the plebiscite because many believed that BOL will bring just and lasting peace and development to the Bangsamoro people,” Al-Mansoor, also chief of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, said in a statement.


Al-Mansoor said they have instructed officials and members of UBJP to observe discipline during the campaign period for the ratification of the BOL, which was anchored on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the government and the MILF in 2014.

The government and the MILF expressed confidence that BOL would be ratified even as Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan II had asked the Supreme Court to declare the measure as unconstitutional.

Citing results of a survey conducted from Oct. 29 to Nov. 19 in areas covered by the plebiscite, a significant majority of the youth in the ARMM would ratify the BOL, Nikki de la Rosa, International Alert Philippines manager, said.

The survey covered 614 respondents in the provinces of the current ARMM, the cities of Isabela and Cotabato, the towns of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal in Lanao del Norte, and six towns in North Cotabato, 39 villages of which are also included in the plebiscite.

Young voters

De la Rosa said 89.4 percent of respondents, aged 18 to 35 in the ARMM who had registered their intention to vote in the plebiscite, would vote in favor of BOL.

When combining all the youth in the region, whether they intended to vote or not, the result remained significant at 60.4 percent, or nearly two-thirds of the sample.

“This is significant considering that the youth comprise 57 percent of the registered voters in the ARMM,” De la Rosa said.

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Organic Law, BOL, BOL plebiscite, Comelec, MILF, Mohagher Iqbal
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