MANILA - Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison believes voters will favor the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, but warned that “big problems” will follow.
Voters on Monday trooped to polling centers to decide on the fate of the BOL, a product of the decades-long peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The BOL aims to grant wider political and economic powers to the Bangsamoro region, a place long plagued by violence between government forces and secessionist Moro rebels.
In a statement, the exiled communist leader said the “suasive force and effect of the martial law” in Mindanao, as well as allegations of vote buying, will seal the victory for the “yes” vote in the plebiscite on the BOL.
“The big problems will come after the railroading of the yes vote in the plebiscite. The MILF leadership in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority will either be willing to become an instrument of Duterte for the suppression of the opposition forces and become embroiled in armed conflict with them or become assertive against the Manila government and try to win them over,” Sison said.
Sison added, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will “also be besieged by the conflicting demands of the Manila government and the local interests of dynasties, warlords and tribes.”
He also slammed Duterte for supposedly railroading the peace process with the Moros.
“Duterte is highhanded and heavy-handed. He did not make sufficient consultations and consensus with all Bangsamoro forces concerned in order to make a clearer and more just path to peace, stability and development in the Bangsamoro region,” Sison said.
“He is a bumbling tyrant who does not solve problems intelligently with the consent of all concerned. He is complicating further a long-running, complicated and violent situation in the Bangsamoro region.”
Reacting to Sison’s latest tirade against the President, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement that the communist leader “is once again talking nonsense by engaging in a delusional analysis on a political event that further exposes his blissful ignorance.”
“The voters will ratify the BOL, as we hope and expect, not because of vote buying and presidential coercive influence, as falsely claimed by Sison, but due to the electorate's belief that its ratification will yield the long desired growth and development that remain elusive in Mindanao,” Panelo added.
Meanwhile, Panelo welcomed the recent Social Weather Stations survey showing that most Muslim Filipinos are in favor of the passage of the BOL.
“We hope that the aspiration of our Muslim brothers and sisters for a peaceful and progressive Bangsamoro region will commence its realization following the ratification of the BOL,” Panelo said in a statement.