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Isabela City residents join assembly opposing Bangsamoro Organic Law

ISABELA CITY, Philippines – Different sectors from the 45 barangays of the city gathered at Isabela City gym on Friday, January 18, to pronounce publicly against their inclusion Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Isabela City leaders, including the Church, have expressed their objection against BARMM to thousands of Isabeleños who attended the peace assembly. (Check Rappler's full coverage of the plebiscite here)

Fr. Guillermo Rubillos of the Catholic Prelature of Isabela City strongly opposed the city's inclusion. (READ: Power brokers in the Bangsamoro region)

"Christians and Muslims are living peacefully together in the city," Rubillos said.

Fr. Rubillos lauded the city officials who stood firm in expressing their rejection for the city’s inclusion in BARMM.

Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Cherrylyn Santos Akbar together with city councilors Faigdar Jaafar, Jennesa Tubongbanua, and Abner Rodriguez, have publicly announced their "no" vote to the city's inclusion in BARMM.

They expressed doubts on what the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) would offer for the city.

The latest survey showed a surge of "no" votes among the youth population in Isabela City from 8.8% to a whopping 35%. The survey was held from January 11 to 13.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday made the last pitch to vote "yes" for BOL. The first plebiscite will be on Monday, January 21. 

Duterte said BOL would "address" grievances long-held by Muslims in the region.

Article 2, Section 1 of the BOL states that descendants of natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao at the advent of Spanish colonization have the right to identify as Bangsamoro people.

Along with Isabela City, the "no" vote against BOL gained momentum in Cotabato City where all current government offices under the ARMM are located. – Rappler.com

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