MNLF faction reiterates support for Bangsamoro law as plebiscite nears
MANILA, Philippines – A faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) reiterated its support for the Bangamoro Organic Law (BOL), a little over a week before the plebiscite to ratify the landmark bill is scheduled to take place.
In a statement Thursday, January 8, MNLF central committee Yusop Jikiri said the group was “100% behind President [Rodrigo] Duterte’s aspiration to bring lasting peace and progress in Mindanao.” (READ: 6 scenarios for the Bangsamoro vote)
Jikiri had met with Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez to assure the MNLF group would help to campaign for the BOL’s ratification that would create the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARRM).
The plebiscite for BOL is set January 21 and February 6.
Jikiri's group, also known as the Council of 15, was formed in late 2001 by the MNLF's most senior leaders amid claims that MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari had lost the support of the Moro people. It was previously chaired by Muslimen Sema, Misuari's vice chair for political affairs, and was recognized by then president Gloria Arroyo as the real MNLF.
During the meeting, Galvez recognized the the MNLF’s peaceful and orderly campaign events and urged MNLF members to take part and vote in the plebiscite.
“The ratification of the BOL will bring peace and security, unity, reconciliation, and progress not only in Mindanao but to the whole country,” Galvez said.
Bangsamoro Transition Commission Commissioner Jose Lorena likewise said the MNLF’s participation in the campaign for the BOL was notable as “it is an indication that all of us are united with one objective, and that objective is to bring peace.”
Jikiri had previously expressed the MNLF group’s support for the BOL in meeting with former presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza last October 2018.
During the meeting with Dureza, the MNLF central committee agreed to conduct an information, education, and communication campaign to push forward with the BOL's ratification.
Apart from this, the group also passed a resolution on October 6, 2018 officially accepting and supporting the BOL as it was the “more appropriate political solution to the Bangsamoro issue.”
The BOL seeks to abolish the ARMM and replace it with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which would have greater fiscal autonomy, a regional government, parliament, and justice system.
The BOL is the culmination of a peace deal signed between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and past administrations. It also builds upon the gains of previous Moro peace agreements since the 1970s. (READ: After Bangsamoro law, a bright yet bumpy path to peace) – Rappler.com