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Robredo, lawmakers to voters: Say 'yes' to Bangsamoro law

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo and several senators on Sunday, January 20, urged voters to vote in favor of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in the upcoming plebiscite. (READ: What you need to know about the Bangsamoro plebiscite)

Robredo said the ratification of the law would help attain lasting peace in Mindanao and the Bangsamoro region. (READ: Key personalities who will make or break the Bangsamoro plebiscite)

"Hinihikayat natin ang lahat na suportahan iyong pagpasa ng Bangsamoro law dahil ito nga iyong unang hakbang para makamit natin iyong tunay na kapayapaan sa rehiyon at para [itong] signal na hindi tayo magkakaaway at pagtulung-tulungan natin iyong pagbabago," Robredo said in her weekly radio show.

(We are encouraging everyone to vote in favor of the Bangsamoro law because this is the first step to attain real peace in the region and this is a signal that we can all end war to attain lasting change.)

"Parating sinasabi na iyong historical injustice noong nakaraan na siya iyong pinaka-ugat ng away-away. Pero ito, ito iyong attempt na talaga na para i-correct iyon. Pero dapat alam ng lahat na hindi ito iyong solusyon, hindi ito iyong kasagutan para sa lahat ng tanong pero ito ay unang hakbang pa lang," the Vice President added.

(It is said that the historical injustices against the Bangsamoro are the root of the problem. This will serve as an attempt to correct those injustices. But the people should know that this is not the solution, this is not the answer to all questions, but this is just the first step.)

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Juan Edgardo Angara, co-sponsor of the bill, urged those eligible to go out and vote for the law's ratification. (WATCH: MILF combatants prepare to help protect Bangsamoro votes)

"I call on our Bangsamoro sisters and brothers and all Mindanaoan people eligible to participate in the plebiscite on Monday to go out and vote in favor of the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, and, as active citizens, to protect the sanctity and integrity of the political exercise," Hontiveros said in a statement.

Both also expressed hope for a peaceful plebiscite, with Hontiveros appealing to BOL opponents "to exercise their right to dissent responsibly." (READ: Cotabato City mayor defends opposition to Bangsamoro law)

"We call on all stakeholders to ensure that the plebiscite is conducted in a peaceful and credible manner.... We urge our Bangsamoro brothers and sisters to go out and vote and make their voices heard," Angara said.

The first plebiscite is set for Monday, January 21, for the residents of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Isabela City, and Cotabato. (WATCH: On eve of Bangsamoro plebiscite, Cotabato City lies quiet)

The next plebiscite will be held on February 6 for the province of Lanao del Norte (except Iligan City), as well as the municipalities of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pikit, and Pigkayawan in North Cotabato, and all other areas contiguous to the Bangsamoro core areas.

If ratified, the BOL would replace the ARMM with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The BARMM is a political entity that is seen to be the solution to the decades-long problem in Mindanao. It is meant to ensure greater autonomy for the Bangsamoro under a ministerial form of government. (READ: Christians have nothing to fear under BARMM, says priest–

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email