The BOL (Bangsamoro Organic Law) plebiscite is fast-approaching. You’ve probably heard and was able to relate with the statements of the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) proponents. I also took the statement of the Anti -BOL so we could hear why they are opposed to the BOL.
Lanao Del Norte and Cotabato were able to develop because of the good governance of the Dimaporo and Guaini, independently. THEY rejected the ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) in the past plebiscites, but look, they were able to survive, and in fact, they were able to be more prosperous compared to the other provinces and cities of ARMM. Now, it is left to the people. Let’s hope that the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) and the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) won’t just force and scare the people. They must be professional and just. They should even be the examples of peace, not to scare and have their way through rebellion.
Mindanao politicians urge citizens to vote no to BOL
By: Ayunan Grande Gunting ( 09159616192)
Two political leaders are advocating the “no” vote to the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in the forthcoming plebiscites.
Rep. Khalid Dimaporo of the first district of Lanao del Norte said his province is not part of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which he believed had failed to govern itself professionally and deliver its promises of improving the quality of life in the region. The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) might just be a continuation of that system.
Likewise Cotabato City Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani said leaders from various sectors oppose the sanction of the new region as they want another system of government.
The first voting day will occur on Jan. 19 in ARMM, Cotabato and Isabela cities. The second voting day will be held on Feb. 6 in Lanao del Norte (except for Iligan City) and North Cotabato.
The BOL is expected to end the strife between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the military and police. It answers the region’s claim for independence and Moro identity.
Dimaporo said the new administration has raised issues about the involvement of resources, the partaking of powers between the government and the future Bangsamoro, and the integration of Islamic traditional laws within the judicial system. If approved, Bangsamoro will have more authority over their resources and government than the ARMM. The leaders will have the power to mete out justice according to their culture and religion.
Observing the ARMM, Dimaporo said he is not in favor of an independent government which lacks transparency and accountability; shows biases for ethnic groups; tolerates corruption; perpetuates bureaucracy and implements Islamic-based laws that are practiced in other Muslim countries and are too harsh for the local culture.
“We don’t want to take a chance,” he said. “Bangsamoro might be a repeat of ARMM.”
Dimaporo quoted former President Benigno Aquino III as saying that ARMM was an experiment in self-government. The solon opined that the ARMM was remiss in providing infrastructure, education, livelihood, and the peace and order that it had earlier promised. Because it has no system of checks and balances and accountability, money was squandered on ghost projects while many parts of the region remained impoverished and underdeveloped. Vote buying fetches P10,000 to P50,000. Mayors live in cities outside of their jurisdiction. Hence, they are not able to monitor the peace and order situation in their municipalities.
The solon cited Marawi, Lanao del Sur as an example of long years of neglect that resulted in the penetration of the Maute and the ISIS.
Despite ARRM’s self-rule, it still had to seek help from the national government.
“The MILF wanted to create the Bangsamoro. They didn’t address the national power. Everything will be controlled by the local government units. It merely adds another layer of bureaucracy,” he said.
Dimaporo cited that the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) doesn’t pass through the ARMM to evaluate the budgets. “The ARMM has no direct power over budgets such as development funds. Instead budgets are approved by the ARMM Bureau of Local Government Finance and not the Department of Interior Local Government. The IRA is invariably not used properly.”
He warned, “Bangsamoro will be having a system of kanya-kanyang mundo (to each to his own). The LGU’s can have their IRA, the congressman can get funds from the Department of Public Works and Highways and the regional government will get the block grant. Money will be spent they way they please. Projects will overlap. How do you account for them? That was the problem with ARMM which ended up with ghost projects.”
Dimaporo underscored, “We don’t want to be a part of that system. We’d rather deal with Malacañang than deal with another layer of bureaucracy.”
He added that Congress follows national guidelines so that budgets can be scrutinized. LGUs outside of ARMM are under the Sangguniang Panlalawigan that evaluates and appropriates funds for the welfare of the province.
Dimaporo quoted President Duterte as saying that ethnicity is a problem in Mindanao. The regional governor will favor the provinces of his ethnicity at the expense of the others. They will get more funding for projects.
“The MILF will be a Maguindanao administration,” he said.
He also pointed out that the inclusion of Sharia or religious laws under Islam will bring complications. He cited certain punishments for such was fining Muslim women for not wearing a hijab or head scarf and severing hands for stealing were abolished by Congress.
Dimaporo maintained that the country should follow one legal system.
“Let them try it out first. We are trying to vote for non-inclusion. However, if Bangsamoro succeeds, we can join in the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Guiani said although she favors BOL, she does not want Cotabato City under its control.
She urged her constituents to go out to vote and make their voices be counted during the referendum that would decide the fate of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to be held on January 21st.
The Mayor made this appeal as she bewailed the threats of violence and the smear campaigns made by certain personalities of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), whose members are proponents of BARMM.
BARMM was created as part of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro which was the preliminary peace agreement made between the Philippine government and MILF. It was designed to replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
In her address, Mayor Guiani noted that a considerable number of her constituents have expressed their desire to reject BARMM when they vote during the plebiscite.
“Various groups composed of prominent businessmen and others belonging to other sectors in Cotabato City have met with me and said that they will be opposing the ratification of the new region as they do want another system of government,” she said.
“But because of the strong influence of social media, rampant disinformation or ‘fake information’ is being spread by proponents of BARMM to convince and coerce constituents to vote Yes at the referendum. These proponents have also created fake social media accounts to threaten those who oppose BARMM.”
The Mayor also noted that she herself has been the subject of this disinformation campaign as many of these fake accounts have been “spreading lies about her personal ad professional life.” She said as the Mayor and leader of Cotabato City, she will not tolerate any form of harassment or disrespect from those who hide under fake social media accounts.
“I even made an attempt to find a peaceful resolution to this form and arranged a meeting with one of the MILF commanders, Wahig Tundok. We had an amicable meeting which was attended by the barangay captains of Cotabato City,” she said.
“Yet to our utter dismay, we learned about the insincerity in their commitment to peace in Cotabato City when Commander Tundok appeared in a video interview. In that interview, he said that they will attain victory in Cotabato City even if it takes bloodshed to achieve it. He went on to add that they’ve long been accustomed to resorting to violence to achieve their objectives,” she said.
The Mayor assured, however, that although the people of Cotabato City are peace loving, her government, along with the barangay captains and local enforcers, will use every resource available to prevent this sector of the MILF from carrying out their threats.
“Thus I urge my constituents to go and vote during the referendum and show that we have no intention putting ourselves under the hands of those who have no respect to the people of Cotabato City. Along with our barangay officials, police officers, and the military, I assure that the upcoming plebiscite will be safe for everyone and that justice will be served,” she said.
Earlier, the city had received threats to security on social media. MILF Commander Wahid Tundok posted a video on Facebook declaring that those who will not vote “yes” in the plebiscite will face the consequences. The MILF will risk everything to usurp Cotabato.
On New Year’s Eve, a bomb exploded at a mall leaving two dead and 35 wounded.
MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim issued a statement denouncing the violence as “an act of cowardice, inhuman and atrocious.” He said, “We are saddened by the fact that this incident occurred at a time while we are in the thick of preparations for the plebiscite.”
In an ANC interview, Guiani did not want to make a connection between the bombing and the MILF. Still, she said, “If you cannot even start a good campaign by being kind to those who you want to vote for ‘yes,’ then how can you be nice to us when you’re already there?”