Duterte presses for BOL ratification, Palace says



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President Rodrigo Duterte will use his voice as a "powerful influence" to ensure the successful ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), MalacaƱang said on Monday, January 14.

"The president is the best judge of what will be the result of this plebiscite [for the BOL’s ratification]. He'll make a move if he thinks he should. He will not sit down and just watch, "Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told Palace reporters at a news conference.

"Certainly, the voice of the president is always a powerful influence on any subject in which he gives his voice," he added.

Earlier Monday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana revealed President Rodrigo Duterte's plan to fly to the town of Cobatato to attend a demonstration on January 18 in support of BOL's ratification.

Panelo said he was not privy to Duterte's plan, but emphasized that the president could do this to gain public support.

"If he feels there is a need and will campaign for it. If he thinks he will win, even without asking the voters to support him, he will not," he said.

"But, after all, it will be the call of the people, willing or not. The important thing is that the president will do whatever the will of the sovereign people in this part of the country," he added.

Panelo made the statement just two weeks before the plebiscite for ratification of BOL.

BOL creates the Autonomous Region of Bangsamoro in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), replacing the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). This new region will have greater control over its resources and political power.

The BARMM is composed of Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, six municipalities of Lanao del Norte, 39 villages of North Cotabato and founded cities of Cotabato and Isabela, based on the Bangsamoro law.

A plebiscite is necessary for the legal creation of the new Bangsamoro region. (SunStar Philippines)

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