Mindanao enters age of peace, progress with ‘yes’ for BOL

MANILA Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said Tuesday the "overwhelming affirmative votes" for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) shows that Mindanao is finally shedding its history of conflict and entering an age of peace and progress.

In his privilege speech, Zubiri cited the latest partial and unofficial quick count of the Bangsamoro Free Election Movement (BFEM), a Commission on Elections (Comelec)-accredited citizen's arm in the conduct of the BOL plebiscite, showing that the "yes" vote has garnered a total of 657,113 votes as compared to 49,304 "no" votes in areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

This means that the "yes" vote is 93 percent of the total votes cast, while the "no" vote is at 7 percent.

"Ikinagagalak ko pong ibalita na ang pinaghirapan natin sa Kongreso, lalu na dito sa Senado, na Bangsamoro Organic Law, ay sinagot po ng malakas at umaapaw na 'yes' vote ng ating mga kapatid na Muslim at Kristiyano sa Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (I am delighted to report to you that our hard work here in Congress, especially the Senate, for the Bangsamoro Organic Law paid off with a resounding and overwhelming 'yes' vote from our Muslim and Christian brothers and sisters in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao)," Zubiri said.

"I am overjoyed to hear this development. Today, with the overwhelming affirmative votes for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, we are finally seeing Mindanao shed its history of conflict and enter an age of peace and progress," he added.

Zubiri noted that the voter turnout is conservatively estimated at 70 percent, which he said, is the highest voter turnout among the 1989, 2001 and 2019 plebiscites for the Organic Law in ARMM.

"We have been anticipating this 'yes' vote for the Bangsamoro Organic Law in ARMM, and we are happy to see it coming into reality. Today, we witnessed an exceptionally high voter turnout of at least 70 percent of registered voters, and for that, I congratulate the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and the Comelec for their serious efforts at intensive dissemination of information in all affected political units and sectoral organizations," he said.

The senator said the BOL will put an end to the cycle of war and destruction that Muslim Mindanao has suffered for more than a hundred years.

"We want the whole of Mindanao, both Muslim and non-Muslim areas, to be in step with the rest of the Philippines and attain prosperity and liberties to the extent that they can implement their aspirations with the help of the national government and within the bounds of our Constitution," he said.

"Indeed, it is a new dawn of just and dignified peace in Mindanao. A new dawn of prosperity and economic development, a new era of transparent and accountable governance. And I am thankful that we in the Senate, once again stood, on the right side of history," he added.

On Monday, the Comelec held the first plebiscite on the ratification of the BOL for residents of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato City, and Isabela City.

Another plebiscite will be held on February 6 in the province of Lanao del Norte, except Iligan City; the municipalities of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pikit, and Pigkawayan in the province of North Cotabato; and the 28 barangays to be included in the region.

The BOL (Republic Act No. 11054), considered one of the administration's biggest legislative achievements, seeks to establish a new Bangsamoro political entity to replace the ARMM. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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