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BOL last chance for peace, says MILF chief

/ 05:02 AM December 13, 2018

SHOW OF SUPPORT Thousands of people gather at the compound of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in Cotabato City to support the ratification of the law creating a new Bangsamoro region. PHOTO COURTESY OF OPAPP

COTABATO CITY — Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chair, Murad Ebrahim, said support for the ratification of the law creating a new Bangsamoro region was important as this might be Mindanao’s last chance for peace.

“Let us support the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL). This may be our last chance to attain peace,” Murad told participants in a rally at the compound of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) here this week.

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MILF estimated the number of participants in the rally at 100,000 people from different areas in Mindanao. The military, however, pegged the crowd at only 15,000.

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Murad assured residents of ARMM and other provinces outside the region that the new political entity envisioned under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro would be inclusive regardless of faith, political views, cultural and economic affiliations of all inhabitants.

Murad also said the new political entity that would replace the ARMM would serve the interest of Mindanao’s Muslims, Christians and indigenous peoples.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) had set the campaign period for the ratification of BOL (Republic Act No. 11054) 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.

The Comelec said the separate dates for the plebiscite would give the poll body time to resolve petitions for inclusion in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Monday’s gathering served as the campaign kickoff, organizers said.

Also in the gathering were former Mayor Muslimin Sema, chair of one of the factions of the Moro National Liberation Front and ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman.

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Imperfect

BOL, Sema said, may still be an imperfect law but it was the best that they could have, so far.

“It still needs enhancement but it is so far the best alternative we have,” Sema said.

Streamers which read, “Yes to BOL,” were prominently displayed on vehicles and along the roadsides; but along Sinsuat Avenue, a tarpaulin which read, “Reject fake promises of BOL” was also installed.

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Organic Law, BOL, MILF
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