Lorenzana says securing BOL plebiscite will be a
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said one of the primary tasks this year is the coming plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
In an interview with reporters after the New Year’s Call in Camp Aguinaldo Tuesday, Lorenzana said the inclusion of Cotabato City and Isabela and other areas of Lanao del Norte to the BOL is among the challenges.
“The challenges for us for the six months. First is the plebiscite, because except from Isabela and Cotabato there are six areas in Lanao del Norte that want to join the BOL, but the whole province of Lanao do not agree so that will be (a) challenge,” he said.
“The whole Lanao (del) Norte province will vote if they say yes to remove. The six will leave. If the whole province votes no then they remain as part of Lanao (del) Norte,” Lorenzana noted.
“That will be the challenges plus maybe the barangays in Cotabato. I think 39 barangays are also facing the same situation,” he added.
Lorenzana also identifies Cotabato City as “problematic area” citing the “conflicting aspiration” of its leaders.
“So the way I look at it, it is delicate... the problematic area is Cotabato City because of the conflicting aspiration of the leaders there. Yes and no. They are fighting, so let everybody campaign, the yes and the no and then let the people decide for themselves,” he said.
Lorenzana added that after the plebiscite the implementation of the BOL is another challenge for the government forces.
“Now even after the plebiscite, if the plebiscite wins, the next step will be how to implement the BOL, that new area. We will have decommissioning of their firearms, how they are going to. are we going to accept these people as part of the armed forces or whatever? So decommissioning and the disarming of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters ( is a challenge),” he said.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal assures that the military has sufficient number of forces in the areas where the plebiscite will be held.
“We already have troops on the ground. There are about 10,000 troops there, and we have what we call the follow-on forces if in case needed, but for now, we have sufficient number of troops,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS