Duterte urges Filipinos to give Bangsamoro law a chance
President Rodrigo Duterte urged on Monday Filipinos to give the Bangsamoro Organic Law a chance.
Duterte made the call during the ceremonial presentation in Malacanang of the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which he signed on July 26.
"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," he said in a speech.
Duterte asked those living in the Bangsamoro areas to participate in the upcoming plebiscite, which will take place later this year.
"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," he said.
"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 added.
Duterte thanked the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission led by Ghazali Jaafar, Moro Islamic Liberation Front vice chair for political affairs, the MILF, and the Moro National Liberation Front for their commitment, determination and perseverance in pursuing the passage of the BOL.
May this serve as the final trajectory for the attainment of genuine peace, stability (and) good governance in Muslim Mindanao," he said.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said that the plebiscite in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the 39 villages in North Cotabato and six towns in Lanao del Norte will take place within 90 days to 150 days from BOL approval.
"So anytime December or January," he said.
Dureza said the Commission on Elections has the mandate to hold the referendum to determine if the residents in the affected areas would approve the new law and in the case of the 29 villages and six towns if they would agree to join in the new Bangsamoro region.
Iqbal added that the MILF, which has an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 regular and irregular combatants, are preparing for the decommissioning of its forces. After the ratification of the BOL, 30 percent would be decommissioned.
The full decommissioning of the MILF forces is expected to be completed with the entry of the new Bangsamoro government after the first regular elections in the area in May 2022.
Also present during the ceremonial presentation of the BOL were Senate President Vicente Sotto III, other senators, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, other congressmen, and MILF officials led by Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim. Celerina Monte/DMS