The tipping point

From January 1 to plebiscite day on January 21, barely 20 days left, the people's response leading to the massive ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) has  reached the tipping point. The yes votes prevailing over the no votes is almost an assured certainty, GOD willing! The areas that register this trend are the provinces of Maguindanao, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, and Lanao del Sur, including the cities of Marawi and Lamitan.

Only Isabela City, Sulu, and Cotabato City remain slightly problematic. Some politicians here continue to fight tooth and nail to make the no votes prevail. Their reasons are personal, tribal, or mundane or earthly. They are making a political issue out of the BOL, which is apolitical, by linking the plebiscite with the May 2019 local elections. 

However, the case of the 39 barangays in North Cotabato and the six municipalities in Lanao Del Norte are dis-similarly situated. Interestingly, the Christian local government executives in North Cotabato where these barangays are situated have an open mind on the future status of these villages. Dialogues are currently going on to level-off to find the ways forward for the common good. Ironically, the politicians in Lanao Del Norte are not opposed to the BOL, but they do not want the six municipalities 

in their province to join the Bangsamoro Government. They are reportedly even campaigning for it. What a funny oddity!

This unprecedented support to the BOL is not similar to what we commonly referred to as the bandwagon effect,  which is a phenomenon whereby the rate of uptake of beliefs, ideas, fads and trends increases the more that they have already been adopted by others. In the case of the BOL, the people of all sectors are convinced of the need to vote yes and ratify the BOL because it is for peace, justice, progress and development, and unity. It is very inclusive. Everybody and all sectors will benefit from it. 

Moreover, so much has been spent to secure this law: almost 50 years of bloody struggle, 42 years of hard, harsh, and protracted negotiations, 160,000 lives have been lost (civilians, MNLF, MILF, and government soldiers), billions of properties lost or destroyed, eight Philippine presidents from Ferdinand Marcos to Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and almost 20 government chief peace negotiators. 

Enough is enough! The unnecessary blood-shedding must stop now. We cannot go back to war again. Nobody wants it, the MILF included. Only those who have not tasted real war probably wants it, as well as those whose obsession is to hold on to power at all cost. 

For the MILF, the only condition that makes it fight is if we are subjected again to massive oppression and persecution. In that event, it is our moral responsibility to resist and fight.