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President Duterte to Bangsamoro: Participate in the plebiscite

By Teng L. Datu
Cotabato City Bureau Chief

President Rodrigo Duterte urged the Bangsamoro people to participate in the upcoming plebiscite that will determine the territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm).

In his message during the presentation of Republic Act Number 11054 or the “Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao” in Malacañang on Monday, Duterte encouraged the stakeholders to campaign for the law in their own communities.

“I ask my Bangsamoro brothers and sisters, as well as the indigenous communities and Christian settlers living within the Bangsamoro areas, to actively participate in constructive discussions about the law in your homes, in your villages, and communities. But more importantly, I encourage you to take part in the upcoming plebiscite so that you may express your sovereign will through the ballot,” Duterte said.

It was in Rizal Hall where then government peace panel chair Marvic Leonen and MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) on Oct. 15, 2012.  The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) was also signed in Malacanang, in the Kalayaaan Gardens on March 27, 2014 by then government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel Ferrer and the MILF’s Iqbal.

“Let us work together as we continue the healing and reconciliation process. Let us give this law a chance to address the Bangsamoro people’s aspiration for genuine autonomy, while preserving our bond as a single nation and affirming the sovereignty of the indivisible Republic of the Philippines,” Duterte said in a prepared message he read during the “presentation of the signed” law and the ceremonial signing of the Philippine Identification System Act which will establish a single national identification system.

He described the two laws as “monumental.”

He said he hopes the Bangsamoro law “will finally end the decades-old conflict that is rooted in the Bangsamoro’s fight for self-determination and the recognition of their unique identity.”

RA 11054 is supposed to be the enabling law of the CAB, the peace agreement signed by government and the MILF.

“Together, let us shatter the dark clouds that once loomed over our nation for generations, and welcome the dawn of a brighter future not only for the Bangsamoro people, but for all peace- loving Filipinos,” Duterte said. (with reports from mindanews)

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