Department of National Defense chief sees smooth Bangsamoro Organic Law vote

January 20, 2019
Delfin Lorenzana
Delfin Lorenzana

DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed confidence that the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) will proceed smoothly today with police and military working overtime to ensure the safety of everyone.

Lorenzana said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has deployed additional troops to deeply divided areas such as Cotabato City and Isabela, Basilan.

“I believe that the plebisite will proceed smoothly without any untoward incident. We have deployed additional troops in highly contested areas such as Cotabato City and Isabela, Basilan,” Lorenzana said.

“Our troops (military and police) are working overtime policing, patrolling and monitoring threat groups such as the Dawla Islamic, BIFF, ASG and others. “ he added.

On the threat of the group of Abu Dar against the plebiscite, Lorenzana said the possibility is there but it is unlikely for the the group to disrupt the plebiscite since Cotabato City was already under Comelec control.

“They have the potential but for them to disrupt the plebiscite tomorrow is very unlikely. It is because Cotabato City is now under Comelec Control and we have added more troops and policemen to secure the city,” he said.

The DND secretary said the AFP is also monitoring the activities of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom.Fightees (BIFF), Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)and New Peoples Army (NPA) and other threat groups.

“Our troops are also monitoring the activities of these groups. Hence, I am confident that we will have an orderly, peaceful and uneventful plebiscite in Cotabato City, Isabela, Basilan and the rest of ARMM area,” he stressed.

Based on the situation assessment, Lorenzana said there is no indication that these groups will sabotage the voting.

On February 6, 2019, Lanao del Norte will also undergo a plebiscite to allow six towns to join the BOL.

Several towns in North Cotabato will also vote on allowing 67 barangays to join the BOL.

If ever the two cities decided not to join the BOL, Lorenzana said he does not expect any adverse development as the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has pledged that they will respect the results of the plebiscite.

AFP Major General Cirilito Sonejana, commander of 6th Infantry Division ( ID), also said he doesn’t see any problem in his area.