By Francis Wakefield
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. on Wednesday said the conduct of a peaceful Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite is a manifestation that the government, under the Duterte administration, is sincere in implementing all the signed peace agreements with the Moro fronts.
“What we witnessed was the achievement of the centuries-old political clamor of the Moro people to chart their own future. It was an extraordinary electoral exercise that was meant to end the decades-old armed conflict and attain the elusive peace in Mindanao,” Galvez said in a statement.
True to his commitment, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself, along with his cabinet secretaries, campaigned for the ratification of the law. The President also made sure the conduct of the plebiscite would be smooth.
“With the success of this plebiscite, I look forward to another peaceful and orderly referendum in the provinces of Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato on February 6, 2019,” Galvez said.
“With all of us on board in the peace process and with the grace of the Almighty, I believe we can surmount any challenge we will face in the upcoming plebiscite. Let us continue in our journey on the path of peace,” he added.
The BOL plebiscite on Monday was held in the provinces of Maguindanao, Sulu, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Tawi-Tawi under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, in the provinces of Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato, and in the cities of Cotabato and Isabela.
More than 18,000 soldiers and policemen were deployed to secure the said areas during the plebiscite which went on smoothly without major incidents.
For Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato, including the barangays that filed their petitions to join the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) granted by the Commission on Elections, the plebiscite will be on February 6, 2019.
The BOL, which reflects all the signed peace agreements between the government and the Moro fronts, envisions to create a more powerful autonomous government with adequate financial resources that would be on a par with other regions in the country.