Palace: Ratified BOL ushers a ray of hope
Malacañang is optimistic that next month’s referendum for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) will yield positive results, following the BOL’s ratification on Friday.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the ratification of the BOL ushered “a ray of hope” to the “war-weary, poverty-stricken, long-neglected and much-heralded promised land” of Mindanao.
In a statement, Panelo noted that “the sovereign voice of the participating voters in the just concluded plebiscite had spoken.”
Rule of the majority
“The BOL has been officially ratified, it behooves the discordant voices to yield to the rule of the majority,” Panelo said.
“We look forward to another orderly plebiscite in the provinces of Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato on Feb. 6 even as we await with enthusiasm a favorable result,” he said.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, for his part, said people must believe in the BOL’s potential to usher peace in Mindanao.
“We really need to be optimistic about the entire situation. There are those critical ones who say this has happened before with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and that others have tried but failed,” he said over the state-run Radyo Pilipinas.
“But if that is our attitude, nothing will happen to our country,” he said.
He noted that the results of the plebiscite should be respected and that “the voice of the majority is the voice of God.”
“We must be really positive, we must look forward so that there will be long-term, life-long peace,” Andanar added.
Andanar stressed that the plebiscite for the BOL’s ratification went through the democratic process.
“It’s a democratic process wherein the electorate voted. They’ve voted for what they want. The yes votes were overwhelming, so it was ratified,” he added.
On Friday night, the Commission on Elections announced that the BOL was deemed ratified after 1,540,017 residents voted for ratification while 198,750 rejected the BOL in a referendum on Jan. 21.
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will cover the five existing provinces of the ARMM and Cotabato City.
There will be a second round of the plebiscite on Feb. 6 to determine if the BARMM will be expanded to cover six towns in Lanao del Norte and 39 barangays in North Cotabato.
Republic Act No. 11054, or the BOL, was signed by President Duterte in July last year, as part of the government’s peace pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The President said the BOL was seen to correct the historical injustices against the Bangsamoro people, as the law would create a Bangsamoro government with fiscal autonomy.
Following the ratification of the BOL, the Palace said the BARMM would be created as soon as Mr. Duterte constituted the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
The 80-member BTA will oversee the interim government of the BARMM, unless the Supreme Court rules in favor of a petition questioning the constitutionality of the BOL.
The Palace said the President was optimistic that the “ratification of the BOL would commence the process of correcting the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people.”
“It is in this light that all the stakeholders must join their hands in unity and harmony to craft an autonomous government that will be responsive to the needs of the Bangsamoro people and other citizens within the jurisdiction of BARMM,” Panelo said.
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