Sunio: While the BARMM plebiscite approaches


THE road to peace will never truly be easy. In the case of the upcoming Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), the road is not only teeming with oppositions left and right. Danger lurks as well.

I guess the messages and campaigns for peace is still not enough for some parties. This dissatisfaction is evident through the threats and rumored attempts to sabotage the inclusion of some towns in the soon-to-be Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Life threatening dangers cannot be shoved away as well, as the voting day approaches.

The plebiscite for ARMM, Isabela City, and Cotabato City will be on January 21, and February 6 in Lanao del Norte, except Iligan City.

Some organizations have also already flagged possible hot spots as the plebiscite dates are getting nearer. Most of the identified ‘dangerous areas’ are coastal towns.

One of their basis in identifying this was the strength of the opposition for BOL in certain areas; the parties involved, and the many conflicts that happened nearby that relates to the peace process, such as the war that happened in 2008 in the municipality of Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) attacked in the said town as a form of “political statement” when the Supreme Court junked the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) that was supposed to be signed on August 5, 2008.

I’m hoping that even if some people would say “no” to BARMM or the inclusion, they would express their disagreement only through fair and peaceful means. May no life be taken just because they simply want to differ.

I understand that instead of BARMM, others still have more preference – strong ones – for federalism. Minus the conspiracy theories, some saw the disadvantages and weakness of the Philippine Constitution and how it has limited—or even drove ARMM—to the poverty and scarcity it is experiencing now.

This was according to Dr. Zainal Kulidtod, faculty member of Mindanao State University’s Political Science Department. He further said that the bane of BARMM is the constitution of the Country itself.

Despite the many, many efforts to consult and reach out to people on how they want their new government to be, because these good wishes, unfortunately, contradict with what the Constitution demands and restricts, these aspirations cannot be realized.

In an interview with him last year, he said that he is one of the many believers of Federalism. Through the change, the restrictions of the Constitution can be rewritten to specifically tailor-fit to the needs of the different Regions in the Philippines, one of which is ARMM.

But what I really am hoping is for genuine and lasting peace – finally – in these regions.

To be honest, I already find the words ‘genuine and lasting peace’ quite cliché.

Sadly, though these words are already dull, these are still out of reach. They look a bit far to be realized.

I hope that BARMM will allow this to be an arm’s stretch away, finally.



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