Police, AFP tapped to secure Bangsamoro law plebiscite, 2019 polls

Screenshot of the memorandum signed by President Rodrigo Duterte

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed two memoranda, directing government law enforcement agencies, including the police and military forces, to ensure a peaceful and orderly conduct of plebiscite for the ratification of Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and the 2019 midterm elections.

In Memorandum Order (MO) 34, Duterte concurred with the Commission on Election (Comelec) to deputize the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the plebiscite for the creation of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region that will be held on January 21.

Republic Act (RA) 11054, otherwise known as BOL, creates the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm), in place of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm).

The Moro law overhauls the current autonomy set-up in Mindanao, granting the new Bangsamoro region greater and wider control over resources and political power.

The Barmm, according to RA 11054, is composed of Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, six municipalities of Lanao del Norte, 39 villages of North Cotabato, and chartered cities of Cotabato and Isabela.

To legalize the creation of Barmm, a plebiscite is necessary.

Meantime, Duterte inked MO 35, which provided the concurrent with Comelec Resolution 10462, deputing the military and law enforcement agencies and government instrumentalities, to ensure "free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible" local and national elections on May 13, 2019.

Under Section 2(4), Article 9-C of the 1987 Constitution, the President needs to concur with Comelec in tapping the AFP and PNP during the conduct of elections in the country.

"The foregoing law enforcement agencies and other concerned agencies are hereby directed to coordinate and cooperate with the Comelec in the performance of their duties and functions," MO 35 read.

MO 34 and 35, both signed on December 28, should take effect "immediately."

Palace released a copy of the two memoranda just on Friday, January 11. (SunStar Philippines)


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