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Support Bangsamoro leaders, ARMM urged

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Support Bangsamoro leaders, ARMM urged
The BOL, which will create a new Bangsamoro region with greater political and economic powers, was ratified after an overwhelming majority of ARMM residents voted in favor of the measure in the plebiscite held last Jan. 21.
File

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has urged residents of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to support the leaders of the soon-to-be-formed Bangsamoro region as it expressed hope that the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) would bring peace in southern Philippines. 

The BOL, which will create a new Bangsamoro region with greater political and economic powers, was ratified after an overwhelming majority of ARMM residents voted in favor of the measure in the plebiscite held last Jan. 21. 

More than 1.5 million ARMM residents voted “yes” to BOL ratification while only close to 199,000 voted “no.”

The “yes” votes also won in Cotabato City and in Basilan province, except Isabela City. The “no” votes won in Sulu but the result is not expected to have an effect because ARMM provinces are taken as one geographical unit.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said critics of the BOL should respect the decision of the majority by cooperating with the leaders of the new Bangsamoro autonomous region.

He said all stakeholders must unite to craft an autonomous government that would be responsive to the needs of the Bangsamoro people and other citizens within the region. 

“The sovereign voice of the participating voters in the just concluded plebiscite has spoken, ushering a ray of hope to that war weary, poverty stricken, long neglected and much heralded promised land of the ’50s. The Bangsamoro Organic Law has been officially ratified, it behooves the discordant voices to yield to the rule of the majority,” Panelo said in a statement. 

“We urge the people in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to give their new leaders their support and cooperation but at the same we implore them to be vigilant and assertive of their rights. We also call on the mandated leaders to be fealty to their oaths of office,” he added. 

Panelo noted that the BARMM would be in place as soon as President Duterte constitutes the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority that would oversee the interim government.

He said the the creation of the BARMM would push through unless the Supreme Court rules in favor of petitions questioning the constitutionality of the BOL. 

“The ruling, however, remains in the realm of imponderales. We can not be waylaid in the meanwhile in the race to peace and progress,” the spokesman said. 

Panelo said Duterte is hopeful that the ratification of BOL would “commence the process of correcting the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people.”

“The quest to lasting peace in that region saw not only the bloody encounters among the Muslim combatants but spawned more conflicts as well, giving birth to more armed groups and violent hostilities to the sufferance of the Bangsamoro people and the Christian inhabitants,” Panelo said. 

“To the credit of the Muslim warriors, they made way to another thrust for the elusive peace as they participated in a democratic process weighing in their collective voice,” he added.

Panelo said the Duterte administration was looking forward to another orderly plebiscite in Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato on Feb. 6. 

“We await with enthusiasm a favorable result,” he said. 

The Feb. 6 plebiscite will be held in Lanao del Norte except Iligan City and the towns of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pikit, Pigkayawan and Tulunan in North Cotabato. 

The BARMM has been allocated P62 billion this year, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said yesterday. – With Jose Rodel Clapano, Paolo Romero

AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM MINDANAO

BANGSAMORO ORGANIC LAW

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