By Aaron Recuenco
Some Marawi City residents see the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) as an effective way to expedite the rehabilitation of the Islamic city in Mindanao following the five-month armed conflict that turned the once-flourishing urban area into ruins.
Dickson Hermoso, assistant secretary for peace and security unit of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), said the approval by some residents of the BOL is reflected on the positive response of local residents during the forum in the area on Friday.
Carrying banners printed with “YES” in bold letters, Hermoso said residents, mostly students, declared their approval of the BOL inside the Dimaporo Gymnasium right inside the Mindanao State University (MSU) compound during a multistakeholder forum to educate the public of the salient points of the law.
“I saw the ugliness of the conflict but I also saw the real solution. What we are doing now is the ultimate solution to achieve peace in Mindanao,” he said, referring to the collective efforts to campaign for the ratification of law.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) had earlier said the plebiscite will be on January 21, 2019.
Although the BOL is largely anchored on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro — a peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – Hermoso said it includes key provisions of all previous Bangsamoro peace agreements signed between the government and the Moro fronts.
“BOL is not only a legal instrument but also a social document that would address the decades-old armed conflict in the Bangsamoro, as well as the recognition of historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro,” Hermos said.
Normalization, he said, envisions conflict-affected communities to return to conditions where they can achieve their desired quality of life, which includes the pursuit of sustainable livelihoods and political participation within a peaceful deliberate society.
“As we prepare for the plebiscite, we call on all stakeholders… to watch over and safeguard the implementation and conclusion of the peace process in light of the full flourishing of our country’s stability, development and nation-building,” he said.
The forum on Friday here is among the series of forums that the government, the MILF, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, and other partner agencies have scheduled until the plebiscite is held.