Duterte to residents in proposed Bangsamoro: discuss the law, vote in the plebiscite

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 06 August) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday urged residents of the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to “actively participate in constructive discussions” about the Bangsamoro law and to vote in the plebiscite that would ratify it.

“I ask my Bangsamoro brothers and sisters, as well as the indigenous communities and Christian settlers living within the Bangsamoro areas, to actively participate in constructive discussions about the law in your homes, in your villages, and communities. But more importantly, I encourage you to take part in the upcoming plebiscite so that you may express your sovereign will through the ballot,” Duterte said at the presentation of RA 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) at the Rizal Hall of Malacanang on Monday, August 6.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte poses for a photo with the legislators and negotiators in the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as well as top officials from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police during the presentation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to the MILF at Malacañan Palace on August 6, 2018. Richard Madelo/Presidential Photo

It was in Rizal Hall where then government peace panel chair Marvic Leonen and MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) on October 15, 2012.  The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) was also signed in Malacanang, in the Kalayaaan Gardens on March 27, 2014 by then government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel Ferrer and the MILF’s Iqbal.

“Let us work together as we continue the healing and reconciliation process. Let us give this law a chance to address the Bangsamoro people’s aspiration for genuine autonomy, while preserving our bond as a single nation and affirming the sovereignty of the indivisible Republic of the Philippines,” Duterte said in a prepared message he read during the “presentation of the signed” law and the ceremonial signing of the Philippine Identification System Act which will establish a single national identification system.

He described the two laws as “monumental.”

He said he hopes the Bangsamoro law “will finally end the decades-old conflict that is rooted in the Bangsamoro’s fight for self-determination and the recognition of their unique identity” and be “the final trajectory for the attainment of genuine peace, stability, good governance in Muslim Mindanao.”

RA 11054 is supposed to be the enabling law of the CAB, the peace agreement signed by government (GPH) and the MILF.

“Together, let us shatter the dark clouds that once loomed over our nation for generations, and welcome the dawn of a brighter future not only for the Bangsamoro people, but for all peace- loving Filipinos,” Duterte said.

RA 11054 paves the way for the creation of a new autonomous political entity called the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) which would replace the 28-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The ARMM is deemed abolished upon ratification of the BARMM in a plebiscite that will be held December 2018 or January 2019, according to Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Sheriff Abas.

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said it will require at least P7 billion to hold the plebiscite for the newly enacted Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and the proposed Charter change (Cha-cha).

Abas told the budget hearing of the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee that they will need at least P854 million for the plebiscite in the proposed Bangsamoro.

The proposed area of the BARMM is the present ARMM (the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan); the cities of Cotabato and Isabela in Basilan; the six towns in Lanao del Norte (Balo-i, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan, and Tangkal) and the 39 barangays in six North Cotabato towns that voted yes to inclusion in the ARMM in the 2001 plebiscite: three in Aleosan, two in Carmen, three Kabacan, 12 in Midsayap, eight in Picgawayan, and 11 in Pikit.

The six towns of Lanao del Norte and 39 barangays in six North Cotabato towns can be part of the BARMM only if their mother units — Lanao del Norte and the six towns in North Cotabato — also vote for inclusion in the plebiscite.

The law also  provides that all other contiguous areas where a resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least 10% of the registered voters in the area seeks inclusion at least two months prior to the plebiscite.(Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)