DAVAO ORIENTAL – Advocates and movers of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) has found an ally in the Province of Davao Oriental.
During the Information, Education, and Communication Campaign for the BOL on October 30, 2018 at the Provincial Capitol, more than 600 participants composed of predominantly Muslim crowd have signified their support to the sought-after legislation that would signal the creation of a Bangsamoro State in Mindanao.
Signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, previously known as the Bangsamoro Basic Law, is yet to be approved when it successfully gets the people’s nod on the upcoming plebiscite set on January 21, 2019.
The members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, who are pushing for the law’s approval, have explained during the IEC campaign the provisions of the BOL and how it would end the continuing struggles and plight of the Moro people.
Bangsamoro Transition Commissioner Atty. Raissa Jajurie discussed the salient features of the BOL as an “organic law” for the Bangamoro Autonomous Region. Among these provisions cover the areas of the utilization of natural resources, territorial jurisdiction, self-governance, and fiscal autonomy, among others.
“Gusto nating maibalik ang isang sistema na kung saan ang mga grupo ng mga netibo ng mga Moro ay makaroon ng espasyo at pagkakataong magka gobyerno sa sarili nilang komunidad. (We want to revive the system wherein the Moro natives will be given space and an opportunity to govern in their own territory),” she said.
All these provisions, she says, answers the everyday challenges of the Moro people, which in the past have resulted to an armed struggle. For those who are pushing for the approval of the BOL, the passage of the law will mean forging of true and lasting peace in Mindanao.
Covered areas of the political entity of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region are the existing territories under the ARMM and other areas such as 6 municipalities in Lanao del Norte, 39 provinces in North Cotabato, Cotabato City, Isabela City, and other contiguous area.
While the BOL recognizes and respects freedom of choice and identity, other areas that are not covered under the BOL but have signified their interested to join can file a petition before the deadline on November 5 in order to be able to vote on the plebiscite next year, she explained.
“Binibigyan ng karapatan ang mga netibo na nakatira sa Mindanao, Sulu, at mga karatig na isla. Yung gustong kilalanin sila na Moro ay dapat kilalanin at irespeto (We recognize the rights of the natives living in Mindanao, Sulu and nearby islands. Those who wish to be recognized as Moro should be duly recognized and respected),” she added.
Prior to the plebiscite on January 21, 2019, an aggressive information drive will be held during the campaign period from December 7 to January 20.
Meanwhile, the Province of Davao Oriental, although not included in the areas covered under the BOL who will be voting on the plebiscite, has expressed its support to the ratification of the law.
Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, a staunch advocate for the Jama’ah and Indigenous Peoples had long been recognizing the Muslim community that covers a huge portion of the province’s territory apart from the Mandaya natives.
Recognition of the Jama’ah or Muslim communities takes a huge part in the Governor’s Inclusive Governance Framework wherein they are given wider opportunities through various development programs.
“No provincial government in the entire country recognizes Jama’ah communities. Only the Province of Davao Oriental,” said the Provincial Governor’s Office Chief of Staff Ednar Dayanghirang.
A LONG-TERM SOLUTION FOR PEACE
The Bangsamoro Organic Law, which has obtained the full support of the Jama’ah communities in the province, “is the answer to the long-time dream of the Bangsamoro people,” said Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Eastern Davao Provincial Committee Chairman Roy Lopez.
“We hope this will bear fruits as our children will benefit from it. Achieving true peace is difficult, it is a winding road and oftentimes has thorns but we believe it is achievable,” he added.
“If you are not with us, just listen to us,” Lopez said as he urged the people’s support. “We hope this BOL will become the start in achieving real peace, real justice and freedom for the Bangsamoro people as it will also become the start of true and lasting peace in Mindanao and the country,” he said. By Karen Lou Deloso/Photos by Eden Jhan Licayan