By Teng Lauban Datu
Cotabato City Bureau Chief .
MUNAI, Lanao del Norte — We are Bangsamoro.
This is the mindset of residents here who, despite their municipality not being included in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm), expressed their solidarity with the people of the region.
“Muslim kami. Alam namin sa sarili namin na kahit ‘di kami nakasali sa Barmm, nasa puso namin na kasali kami,” said Asmarah Gomobar, 20, and a resident of Barangay Dalama, here.
Musa Sangilan, secretary of the inter-faith organization Pakigdait and a resident of Munai, also affirmed this conviction in a message he delivered during an inter-faith dialogue organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp).
This initiative also seeks to provide assistance to marginalized, underdeveloped areas that our outside the Barmm.
“Alam po natin na nanalo tayo sa plebisito (municipal level)… deep in our hearts and we recognize ang sarili natin as Bangsamoro,” he said.
On July 27, 2018, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) which paved way to the creation of Barmm.
During the plebiscite for the ratification of the BOL conducted in Lanao del Norte on February 6 this year, the municipalities of Tagoloan, Munai, Balo-i, Nunungan, Tangkal and Pantar voted for their inclusion in the Barmm.
However, the overall “no” vote of the province of Lanao del Norte overrode the “yes” vote of the six municipalities which wanted to be part of the proposed region.
Despite their non-inclusion in the Barmm, residents noted the peaceful atmosphere that has prevailed over their community. They, however, still recall the years when the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front were engaged in fierce armed battles. (with reports from opapp)