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TURNING POINT: A Convoluted Plebiscite

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews/6 February) – A barangay desirous and votes to become part of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)  does not become a member unless the municipality where it belongs votes allowing it to join the BARMM. On the other hand, municipalities who vote in favor of joining the BARMM don’t automatically become members unless approved or allowed by the province where they belong.

Needless to say, the convoluted plebiscite harbors bad feelings. For how do you think the residents of the six Moro-dominated municipalities of Lanao del Norte feel if they voted for inclusion in the BARMM but are prohibited in becoming so by a “No” vote of the Province?

There would certainly be gnashing of teeth from disappointment and frustration. Frustration engenders resentment; resentment leads to hatred, hostility and open conflict.  Already, Commander Bravo, of the MILF 303rd Brigade in Lanao del Norte, the erstwhile commander who led the assault of Kauswagan and Kolambugan in 2008 warned of continued violence if a vote against inclusion wins in Lanao Norte. Thus, the drum of war might beat again in the politically volatile areas.

Why did the lawmakers complicate the concept of self-determination? What is wrong if the barangay that votes in favor of BARMM automatically becomes a part of BARMM as adjunct to the closest municipality within the BARMM? The same applies  to similarly situated municipalities. If they voted for inclusion then they should become integral parts to the closest province in the BARMM. Why make things so difficult to the people? What gains, if any, is achieved by the runaround process? Why can’t separation from the municipality or from the province be cut sharp and clean with no turning back?

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines)

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