Duterte urges Bangsamoro people to join upcoming plebiscite

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 6) — President Rodrigo Duterte encouraged the people of Muslim Mindanao to join the upcoming plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, hoping that enacting the monumental law will be a final trajectory in attaining peace and stability in Mindanao.

In the ceremonial signing event on Monday in Malacañang Palace, Duterte urged the Bangsamoro people and concerned communities to join the plebiscite later this year, and to 'actively participate' in discussions.

"I ask my Bangsamoro brothers and sisters as well as the indigenous communities and Christian settlers living within the Bangsamoro areas to actively participate in constructive discussion about the law in your homes and in your communities," Duterte said in his speech.

"But more importantly, I encourage you to take part of this up and coming plebiscite so that you may express your sovereign will through the ballot," he added.

The referendum, which is expected to be held in November, will decide the other areas, towns or cities that will join Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the Bangsamoro region.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leader Al Haj Murad Ebrahim on his Twitter account Sunday revealed that should the plebiscite in Cotabato City yield positive results, the area will be designated as the capital of the region.

A future for the Bangsamoro people

Duterte hopes the enactment of the law will serve as the 'final trajectory' for the attainment of genuine peace, stability, and good governance in Muslim Mindanao.

"Let us work together as we continue the healing and reconciliation process. Let us give this law a chance to address the Bangsamoro people's aspirations for a genuine autonomy," the President said.

The country's chief executive also expressed gratitude for the Moro leaders, particularly members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, the MILF, and the Moro National Liberation Front, who were determined in pursuing the passage of the Bangsamoro law.

The signed measure paves the way for the establishment of a new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, which will abolish the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

READ: The Bangsamoro Organic Law: Everything you need to know

The Bangsamoro law is the result of decades-long peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the rebel groups in Mindanao.

The ceremonial signing event on Monday also featured Duterte signing the National ID System Act, which meanwhile aims to create a single official identification card for all Filipino citizens.