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Duterte wants to talk with Misuari, others opposed to BOL

Nur Misuari and Rodrigo Duterte

This file photo, taken on Aug 3, 2017, shows President Rodrigo Duterte welcoming to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari during a meeting at the Malacañan Palace. (Photo by ACE MORANDANTE / Presidential Photographers Division)

COTABATO CITY — Even as he campaigned for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), President Rodrigo Duterte also expressed his desire to reach out to the Moro leaders who campaigned against the new law that would give the Bangsamoro area a more expanded independence than currently in place in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Addressing a gathering of largely BOL supporters at the ARMM compound in Cotabato City on Friday, the President said he would talk not only to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair and founder Nur Misuari but also to Bobby Dimaporo, referring to Lanao del Norte Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo who campaigned against the inclusion of the six Lanao del Norte towns in the Bangsamoro, and Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan, who questioned the constitutionality of the BOL before the Supreme Court.

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“Three days from now, the people of the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Cotabato City, Isabela [City], and parts of Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato will exercise their right to vote in a plebiscite that will not just address the injustices of the past, but also plot the course towards a brighter and more promising future for Mindanao,” the President said.

“I … addressed my beloved friend Nur Misuari that we can also talk and come up with something that could come to the barest minimum para lang makuha natin ’yung — a peaceful Mindanao,” he said.

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But just 800 meters away from the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex (SKCC) where the President was speaking, about 3,000 red-shirted members of the MNLF who belong to the Misuari faction of MNLF gathered at the Cotabato City Hall to show their support for Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, who had been campaigning against the BOL because of her strong opposition to the proposed inclusion of the city in the Bangsamoro.

Sayadi also questioned the “credibility” of the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to take over the helm of the Bangsamoro once the BOL is ratified.

“No to BOL and Yes to Federalism,” Sam Mundas, Cotabato city market administrator, said.

“We are from MNLF Nur Misuari faction and we are opposed to BOL. We want federalism,” said Ansarudin Asim, one of the MNLF members who gathered at the Cotabato City Hall.

The President referred to the BOL as a law that could provide fair and just governance for the Bangsamoro. He also referred to the centerpiece legislation of his administration as product of a long process by different stakeholders who had called Mindanao their home.

“This is why today, I proudly join my Moro brothers and sisters, as we enjoin your approval of his law not only serve as your desire to end more than 50 years of struggle but also as a testament of desire for peace and development in Mindanao,” the President said.

“This landmark law was built not entirely from scratch [but] a product of blood, sweat and tears of many great men who came before us,” he said. “I want to remind you of the 1972 campaign that was bloody, what was lacking was simple conversation, as prosecutor, saw , can be resolved by just talking.”

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People in provinces and cities of the ARMM and those in the cities of Cotabato and Isabela in Basilan would take part in a plebiscite on Monday, Jan. 21

People in Lanao del Norte, except Iligan City, and six towns in North Cotabato that petitioned for inclusion in the Bangsamoro would go to the polling places on Feb. 6. /atm

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Organic Law, BOL plebiscite, federalism, MNLF, Nur Misuari, Rodrigo Duterte
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