MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he pleased with the outcome of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite, even as the official results have yet to be tallied.
“I’m very happy, we're a step closer to a peaceful Mindanao,” Duterte said on the sidelines of the Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (TODA) Summit in Pasay City.
The BOL is part of the 2014 peace agreement between government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), one of two major Moro rebel factions, to finally end a protracted decades-old war in the southern Philippines that has left around 120,000 dead.
Noting Sulu’s rejection of the BOL, Duterte said the government has to address the sentiment of the Tausugs.
Sulu is the birthplace of Nur Misuari’s Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) which inked the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the Philippine government on September 2, 1996.
Led by Hashim Salamat, the MILF broke away from the MNLF in 1977 after the 1976 signing of the MNLF-GPH Tripoli Agreement where government’s offer of semi-autonomy was accepted by the MNLF.
“We need to refocus again dito sa Western side kasi si Misuari must also have something there. Sulu voted 'no.' So that's something, you have to take that into account otherwise sabihin nila binalewala damdamin nila,” Duterte said.
Aside from Sulu, Isabela City in Basilan also voted against its inclusion in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.