By Ali Macabalang
BULUAN, Maguindanao – President Rodrigo Duterte has urged Mindanaoans to rally the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) following its ratification in the recent plebiscite.
“During the three years, one of the great developments that happened in this country is itong BOL,” Duterte said in a speech that marked the distribution here on Monday of certificates of land ownership awards (CLOAs) to 780 farmers. The CLOAs involved 1,748 hectares in 17 towns Maguindanao’s 36 towns.
“So I’m glad that it (BOL ratification) has succeeded, and I am inviting everyone here, Maguindanao primary, join us in government. This is not mine; this government is for all of us. Be a part of it,” he added.
The BOL, which would pave the way for the replacement of the Autonomous Region on Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARRM), would bring lasting peace in war-torn Mindanao, according to Duterte.
The President said he would dedicate the rest of his term to ensure lasting peace in Mindanao.
“I have the remaining three years. I will dedicate it to a peaceful Mindanao,” he assured local officials that included Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman.
He urged rebel groups in Mindanao to bury their guns and join the government.
“Your arms, you can bury it, you no longer need it. Just one shot and there will be chaos. But if we are just quiet, we can talk and we can give you the help that should be given to you,” he said.
Duterte drew cheers from the predominantly Moro audience which chanted: “Mabuhay ang BOL. Mabuhay ang Maguindanao. Mabuhay si Murad….Allahu akbar (God is great).”
Murad Ebrahim is the chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), whose 2014 peace accord with the government was the major basis in the enactment in July last year of the BOL or Republic Act 11054.
Plan for Misuari
The President also renewed his intention to reach out to Nur Misuari, founding chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), who has been espousing a shift to a federal government system.
Leaders of another MNLF faction have been nominated, alongside top MILF figures, for appointment by the President to a proposed Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) that will manage the ARMM transition to the BOL-prescribed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
In the same speech, the President admitted that he could not do anything about high fuel prices “even if you hang me.”
“Alam mo ngayon wala tayong oil. So every time tataas ‘yung oil, automatic tataas lahat ‘yan…Yan hindi natin ma [control]. Even if you hang me, wala tayong magawa,” he said.
He hinted at developing oil and natural gas deposits in Sulu archipelago and the Liguasan Marsh bordering Maguindanao, Sulan Kudarat and North Cotabato as potential solution to lack of local oil buffer.