By Francis Wakefield
Local executives of Lanao del Norte have urged their constituents to participate in the upcoming plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
In the recently concluded series of fora spearheaded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), local executives from the six municipalities that will participate in the plebiscite encouraged residents to go out and exercise their rights on January 21, 2019.
“Lahat tayo rito sa Baloi, bumoto tayo. Ito’y para sa atin, hindi lamang sa Muslim kung hindi sa Christian at sa lahat-lahat ng tribo ng Baloi (All of us here in Baloi, let us vote. This is for all of us, not just for the Muslims but also for the Christians and all the tribes in Baloi),” Baloi Vice Mayor Mustapha Ali said.
Speaking at a forum in Tangkal, former provincial board member Solaiman Mutia urged those in favor of the measure to rally for support.
“Kaya tayo, dapat tumayo tayo dahil ang programang ito ay programa ni Pangulong Duterte (Let’s all stand for this because this is a program of President Rodrigo Duterte),” Mutia said.
Calandada Dumalondong, one of the division commanders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), said they will go out and gather support once the campaign period officially starts.
“Kami pong BIAF na pinamumunuan ko ay lalabas po kami para ang BOL ay manalo hindi lang dito sa Municipality of Tangkal kung hindi pati sa mga kalapit na munisipyo (We will go out to ensure the BOL wins not just in the Municipality of Tangkal but also in the nearby areas),” Dumalondong said.
For his part, Munai Mayor Casan Maquiling said his constituents and the local barangay officials are all in favor of the ratification of the landmark measure.
“Alam namin na itong BOL is the only way para itong gulo sa Mindanao ay maresolba (We know the BOL is the only way to resolve the conflict in Mindanao),” Maquiling said.
Under the BOL, any of the municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tangkal, and Tagoloan that votes favorably for the inclusion in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region shall form part of the new Bangsamoro Region provided that “majority of the votes cast in the Province of Lanao del Norte shall be in favor of the inclusion of the municipality in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.”
OPAPP Assistant Secretary Dickson Hermoso gave assurance that the same information drive will be conducted in the other 16 municipalities within Lanao del Norte to shed light on matters related to the BOL.
Present throughout the three-day series with Hermoso were Commissioners Maisarah Dandamun-Latiph and Romeo Saliga of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, who both made presentations on the salient points of the BOL.