Duterte asks for "Yes" vote, ratifying BOL during Cotabato City visit
President Rodrigo Duterte called on Friday concerned Filipinos to vote "Yes" for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL)..
Duterte made the strong pitch for the ratification of Republic Act No. No. 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao during his visit to Cotabato City where he attended a peace assembly for BOL.
He said the ratification of the new law will mark a new chapter in the nation’s history - one that is where every person is treated with respect regardless of one’s ethnicity, gender, religion, or ideological leanings.
"I am therefore issuing this call to my fellow Moros: Let us use the plebiscite as a peaceful means to finally correct the historical injustices committed against the Moro --- Bangsamoro people o the Moro people of Mindanao. Let us forget the bitterness of the past and look forward to the future," he said.
"Which means, ladies and gentlemen, my beloved Moro brother or sister, vote for 'yes'," Duterte said.
"Together, let us take this opportunity to begin the process of healing, reconciliation so that one day, we can embrace each other as really brother and sister Filipino, with a view of intolerance in all, understanding and take the new world on its totality," he added.
Some 2.8 million voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Cotabato City, Isabel City, Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato are expected to participate in the plebiscite to be held on January 21 and February 6.
The ratification of the BOL and its implementation are expected to finally put an end to decades-old conflict involving the Muslims in Mindanao.
During the peace assembly, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MiLF) led by Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and leaders of the other factions of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) were present.
Nur Misuari, founder of the MNLF and whose faction did not participate in the crafting of the BOL, was not present.
Duterte vowed to talk to Misuari in the coming days to address his concerns.
"I would call out to him (Misuari), extend my hand and friendship and peace and I hope that we can [try] an agreement that will also promote the interest of the MNLF and the rest of the Moro of Mindanao," he said.
The local government of Cotabato City and some other politicians in areas where the plebiscite will be held have been campaigning against BOL ratification.
At least two petitions, including that of Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan II, have been filed before the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the law. Sulu is part of ARMM. Celerina Monte/DMS