Positive Sign for Peace Process in the Philippines

 

Citizens in the Southern Mindanao Island of the Philippines last month  voted in a historic referendum to proceed with a second vote that would give the region greater self-governing powers. This vote was a “key element” of a deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) towards the resolution of the decades-long Moro conflict.

The conflict between the government and armed rebel groups—including the MILF—stems from historical marginalization of Muslim and indigenous communities. In a statement, the Asia Democracy Network  (ADN) welcomed the positive outcome as “a harbinger of a broader and sustained process of democracy, not only in Mindanao but in the country as a whole.”

This makes citizens begin to decide on a plebiscite to determine whether or not Republic Act No. 11045, known as Bangsamoro Organic Law  (BOL) will be ratified. The BOL aims to expand and create a new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The polls will be conducted on February 6 to accommodate 2 Million registered voters.

This is a key element of the peace deal inked between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine government to end decades of armed conflict in the region. ADN hopes the voters can exercise their right to free expression to decide their future, and for all parties to respect the will of the people after the ballot.

However, the non-ratification of the BOL will pose a great challenge for the future of peace and security in the region. Nevertheless, the plebiscite is a positive exercise that serve as a milestone in the democratic process in achieving peace in this conflicted land.

Citizens in the Southern Mindanao Island of the Philippines last month  voted in a historic referendum to proceed with a second vote that would give the region greater self-governing powers. This vote was a “key element” of a deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) towards the resolution of the decades-long Moro conflict.

The conflict between the government and armed rebel groups—including the MILF—stems from historical marginalization of Muslim and indigenous communities. In a statement, the Asia Democracy Network  (ADN) welcomed the positive outcome as “a harbinger of a broader and sustained process of democracy, not only in Mindanao but in the country as a whole.”

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