Hontiveros: A vote for BOL is a vote for peace, development
MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday called on the Bangsamoro and Mindanaon people to participate in the plebiscite and vote in favor of the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
Hontiveros noted that the plebiscite is a “crucial step” in giving the Moro people autonomy, sufficient representation, and respect for their cultural and religious freedoms.
“I call on our Bangsamoro sisters and brothers and all Mindanaoan people eligible to participate in the plebiscite on Monday to go out and vote in favor of the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“The Bangsamoro plebiscite is a crucial step in fulfilling our commitment to the Moro people to freely determine their future through a genuine exercise of autonomy, sufficient representation in our democratic institutions, a complete acknowledgement of their claims to their ancestral lands and full respect for their cultural and religious freedoms,” she added.
Hontioveros also said that the plebiscite is “groundbreaking” as it is a move towards genuine peace and development.
“It contributes to the collective effort to silence the guns and remove violence from Mindanaoan politics while recognizing the deep and multi-faceted root causes of the armed conflict in the region,” she said.
She, however, also called on those who opposed the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to “exercise their right to dissent responsibly and ultimately, through the ballot box.”
“Let us maintain our respect for Mindanao, our democratic institutions and one another despite our differences,” she said.
The senator urged the government, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), different religious leaders, international election observers, peace advocates, and non-government organizations to “work even more closely than ever to ensure the peaceful, orderly and credible conduct of the plebiscite.”
She said she and her party-list group, Akbayan, recognize the Moro people’s right to self-determination.
“As progressives, we fully recognize the Moro people’s right to self-determination. We believe that a positive transformation of Philippine society is possible and sustainable through a modern and democratic reinvention and reimagining of the Philippine nation and our national community,” Hontiveros said.
The plebiscite for the ratification of the BOL, the final step in the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), is scheduled today Jan. 21 and and in some areas, Feb. 6.
About 2.2 million registered voters will cast ballots at 7,141 clustered precincts in 1,228 polling centers in the plebiscite areas, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said./gsg
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