THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday signed an agreement with the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP) for the voter education and information campaign on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite.
In a press conference, BTC Chairperson Ghazali B. Jaafar said the memorandum of agreement (MOA) will guarantee the “credibility” of the BOL referendum.
“The signing of MOA in the conduct of plebiscite for the BOL between the Comelec, the OPPAP, and BTC is another milestone we are guaranteeing the credibility, orderliness, and acceptability of the plebiscite” Mr. Jaafar said.
When ratified, the BOL will form the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which will replace the existing ARMM.
Comelec spokesperson James B. Jimenez, for his part, said the MOA is necessary to strengthen “ongoing voter education campaign” as the plebiscite draws closer.
Meron pa tayong mga pulong-pulong na nagaganap sa (We have ongoing meetings in the)… plebiscite areas. (But) as we get closer to the plebiscite day itself, we need to augment these efforts,” he said.
Mr. Jimenez added that the focus of the MOA is to ensure that all sectors are reached in the Bangsamoro area.
I-augment natin ‘yan by talking to siguro what others would call ‘multipliers’, ‘yung mga taong mag-e-echo nung ating message nung atin turo sa kani-kanilang community (We would augment these by talking, probably, to what others would call multipliers, the people who would echo our message to their respective communities),” he said.
The BOL plebiscite is scheduled on Jan. 21, 2019 in the “core areas” of the provinces under the ARMM, along with the cities of Isabela and Cotabato.
Another round of voting will be held on Feb. 6, 2019 in six municipalities in North Cotabato, and Lanao Del Norte except for Iligan City.
Two petitions seeking to stop the implementation of the BOL over constitutionality issues are pending before the Supreme Court. The first one was filed by Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan II and the other was by the Philippine Constitution Association.
Reacting to these legal challenges, Mr. Jaafar said they have full confidence and trust in the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court.
“If we would not trust the Supreme Court, then who else could we trust?” he said in Filipino. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas