In Photo- Yusoph Jikiri, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Central Committee chairperson, addresses the thousands of residents who attended the forum on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) at the Mindanao State University campus in Patikul, Sul, on Saturday. (Photo by Ely E. Dumaboc)

MNLF-led BOL forum attracts 5K people in Sulu

PATIKUL,  Sulu – Some 5,000 people on Saturday gathered at the Mindanao State University campus for a forum on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Initiated by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the forum was held barely three weeks before the plebiscite for the ratification of the BOL on January 21, 2019.

Yusop Jikiri, MNLF Central Committee chairperson, said they initiated the forum to properly inform the residents here about the BOL “since most of them think that it is just like the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao).”

The ratification of the BOL would create the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) that will replace the present ARMM.

“The BOL is for the people and not for any political party or person,” Jikiri told the participants to the forum, who included relatives of MNLF members and residents of the different towns of this province.

Jikiri said the MNLF's support for the BOL is anchored on the belief that it will translate to better governance through the principle of self-determination.

“The creation of BARMM will be good for us--Muslims, Christians and Indigenous People,” he said.

“This is the reason why we join the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) in pushing for its ratification,” he added.

He acknowledged, however, that “we are not expecting a 100 percent 'yes' vote since there is opposition” to the BOL in this province.

One of the opponents for the BOL's ratification is former Gov. Abdusakur Tan, who is pushing for the federal form of government.

Lawyer Jose Lorena of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) has urged the residents to support the passage of the BOL, saying it seeks to spur development and progress in the region.

“Let us give the BOL a chance for the region to be at par with the other regions that are already progressive,” he said.