By Francis Wakefield
Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr., expressed hope that the votes of the people will truly reflect their sentiments for peace and development in the Bangsamoro.
Galvez made the remark as the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite for Lanao del Norte and the municipalities in North Cotabato, where a total of 67 barangays are proposed for inclusion to the BARMM, got underway Wednesday.
Malacañang declared February 6 a special non-working day in the areas where the plebiscite was to be held.
\Galvez said the peoples’ votes should not be swayed by political patronage or intimidation.
He also clarified misinformation thrown against the BOL, saying the proposed inclusion of the six municipalities in Lanao del Norte “does not divide the province but further widens and democratizes our opportunities for economic development and political empowerment.”
“The inclusion of the six municipalities is an opportunity for reform in governance,” he pointed out.
At least six towns in Lanao del Norte have been identified in the BOL for inclusion in the future Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Their inclusion, however, needs the consent of the entire province.
On Saturday, Galvez urged local leaders of the province of Lanao del Norte to protect the integrity of the plebiscite for the inclusion of the six towns in the future Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
“I ask everyone to help ensure a peaceful and orderly conduct of plebiscite on February 6, 2019,” he told mayors and village chiefs during the information drive of the BOL in Iligan City.
“Our commitment for a peaceful and orderly plebiscite demonstrates our pledge to uphold our democratic ideals, providing equal opportunities to freely cast our votes despite differences in opinion,” he added.
Galvez said the BOL is “a centerpiece legislation of the Duterte administration seen as a viable instrument to institute durable peace in the Bangsamoro which for years has been marred by political alienation and economic marginalization.”
“The BOL presents a pragmatic solution that addresses spur of violent extremism in the Bangsamoro,” he said.
Galvez also asked everyone to “remain vigilant and observant in protecting the integrity of our votes on February 6, 2019.”
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) had earlier declared the BOL ratified after majority of the voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) voted Yes during the first round of the plebiscite on January 21.
The second round of the plebiscite on Wednesday is meant to expand the areas of the future BARMM.
The BOL is the legal foundation for the establishment of a new Bangsamoro autonomous region in Mindanao.
It is the product of the peace agreements forged between the government and the Moro fronts to address the centuries-old clamor of the Moro people for their right to self-determination.