Appeal to political leaders

The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) should not be viewed as a political issue. For us, it is beyond politics. While in short term, it negates any immediate ambition vis-à-vis current regional political landscape, but in long term, the opportunity to become leader of a wider region and bigger population is in the pipeline. Not only these, the government enshrined in BOL has more power and resources at its disposal. These factors can make good leaders, whom we can be proud of.

It is on these premises that we anchor our appeal to our leaders to consider the following: The higher interest of people must be pursued at all times, and between common good and individual good, the former must be prized. The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) is good for the greatest majority of the Bangsamoro and other inhabitants of the region. It is not a perfect law but if nurtured, cared, and is allowed to grow, it will put our region at par with others or even surpasses them. Progress and development surely will not happen in a flash, because nations emerged great for decades or even centuries.

Of particular notice in the law is the parliamentary system, which reminisces the tradition of our people during the heyday of the sultanates, jibes with the current practice of the MILF and MNLF through the committee system or group leadership, and showcases what Islam prescribes: “The affairs of the community is by consultation.” A study shows that more developed states are found among federal states rather than from unitary states.

The change, immensely a good one, courtesy of BOL, is incomparable. What then is better for all? The answer has already been prescribed above – and we earnestly say: Comes plebiscite day either in December or January next year, we appeal to our leaders especially local government executives to support the ratification of the BOL.

The BOL is President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s prime project and he is committed to deliver it in full, not just by signing it on July 27.  Like what he did during the deliberation of BOL in Congress, we expect him to put his weight for the ratification of the law. He should be supported in this regard; he is the president!

We call our political leaders to join together and help one another to push for the ratification of the BOL. Be statesmen and set aside any stigma of politics in this regard. As usual, always stay truthful in serving the people.

Moreover, BOL is a menu of peace in Mindanao. Its ratification gives way to the decommissioning of 30 percent of MILF weapons and combatants. In addition, massive rehabilitation and development interventions are underway for Bangsamoro. On the other hand, its rejection means there is no law at all and the status quo remains. Do we want ourselves to be at the mercy of uncertainty? The choice is ours!   

Lasting peace is in our doorstep. This peace will be sealed if the BOL is ratified.