By Raymund Antonio
On the second plebiscite set on February 6, Vice President Leni Robredo expressed confidence the voting results to ratify the Bangasamoro Organic Law will be the same for Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato.
“Hinihintay natin iyong Feb. 6 pero kung magiging basis iyong January 21, matahimik naman iyong eleksyon, maganda iyong partisipasyon, at inaasahan natin na sa Feb. 6 ganoon din,” she said on her radio show, ”BISErbisyong Leni.”
(We are waiting for Feb. 6, but if the basis will be that of January 21, the elections were peaceful, the participation was good, and we expect it will be the same on Feb. 6.)
The Vice President, who is in favor of the BOL ratification, noted the first plebiscite yielded “encouraging” results as the majority of the people from Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao voted in favor of the law.
The BOL replaces the ARMM with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, of which Cotabato City will be part of, but not the City of Isabela in Basilan.
Robredo again emphasized that BOL will not resolve all the long-standing problems of Mindanao, but it’s an “instrument” towards finding solutions to these challenges.
“Maraming nagsasabi na kaya ayaw nila ito kasi hindi naman nito masosolusyonan iyong maraming suliranin. Pero hindi natin kasi siya tinitingnan na solusyon—tinitingnan natin siya na paraan para mahanapan ng solusyon,” she said.
(Many people were saying they don’t like it because this is not an all-in-one solution to all problems. But we are not looking at it as a solution—we look at it as a way to find the solution.)
Despite her support for the BOL ratification, Robredo wants the creation of bigger spaces for the people to raise their concerns about the landmark law.
“Mahalaga na iyong mga may pakiramdam na hindi sila napapakinggan, mabigyan ng isang plataporma para iyong boses nila, para walang takot na naipapaabot,” she said.
(It is important for those who feel they are not being heard to be given a platform where they will not be afraid to speak out.)
If ratified, opposition senatorial candidate and peace advocate Samira Gutoc said the next step is to ensure the appointment of qualified people to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority.
The BTA is the body that will govern the BARMM from 2019 until elections in 2022. Its members have the power to legislate and implement laws.
“Our President will appoint 40 or so members who will lead the transition towards 2022 by first election. So 2019 or 2020, there should be qualified people who will draft the admin code. They will make the codes towards setting up the government,” Gutoc, who was guest at Robredo’s radio show, said.