Inclusion of six municipalities in LDN vetoed again

For the second time, the inclusion of the six municipalities of Lanao Del Norte, which voted yes in 2001, to join the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), was vetoed again by the rest of the voters of the province. (Correction: The Dimaporo dynasty, which is still in control of the province for the last 60 years, secured the no votes over the yes votes).

As of 7:25 pm yesterday, the overall tally, for no is 167,788 and for yes is 78,453. The six municipalities, namely Balo-i, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal, voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the BARMM. But because of the double majority reckoning of the yes votes, despite the affirmative yes votes in these towns, they will not be part of the BARMM.

But the question, did the Dimaporo triumvirate (Abdullah, Khaled, and Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo) effectively extinguish the burning desire of the people of the six municipalities to be out of their dynastic grip and rule to join, say the BARMM?

The answer is almost certain: When people’s legitimate aspirations are blocked, suppressed, or subdued by all imagined and varied means, including the manipulation of the so-called legal and electoral processes, then the hard feeling, nay hatred, will intensify and will find expressions in many forms.

We are not saying they will resort to violent means. But everybody knows the narrative in this province, how the people here suffered first from the Ilaga depredations, then by the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos, and then followed by the autocratic rule of the Dimaporos, whose Barracudas at one time determined the fate of the people there.

On the part of MILF, we will do everything at our disposal so that whatever after-effects of the last plebiscite will be in pursuant to the path of peace. The momentum for peace has started and this will be pursued vigorously and without let-up.

Moreover, the aspiration of the people in said municipalities did not die with the defeat of the yes votes. It can still be asserted in the future. Even the Philippine Local Government Code has provision for it. More importantly, the people will remain as a people, while the Dimaporo dynastic will not stay forever. It will end sooner or later, because they longer are in harmony with the higher cause of peace and interests of the people of the province.

The plebiscite in the province was far from fair and orderly, especially in Sultan Naga Dimaporo municipality. Very few people were seen voting but the results showed almost 10o percent registered voters cast their votes. In addition, very few precincts were opened to watchers especially of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP). Either they were secured by goons, the barangay captains, men in police uniforms, etc.