CLASSES SUSPENDED AS BANGSAMORO PEOPLE RALLY FOR BOL RATIFICATION
BOL CAMPAIGN LAUNCH. Thousands of Bangsamoro people gather inside and outside the compound of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Monday (Dec. 10) in Cotabato City for the launching of the campaign for the Bangsamoro Organic Law ratification. A plebiscite for the new law is slated on January 21, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Jom Dimapalao – Brigada Cotabato Media Group)
COTABATO CITY – Classes in all levels here have been suspended Monday as tens of thousands of Bangsamoro people converged at the compound of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for the start of the campaign period for the ratification of Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi on Sunday night ordered the suspension of classes to prevent students from being trapped in traffic as many people have come to the city from other towns.
Aniceto Rasalan, secretary to the mayor, said the suspension of classes covers kindergarten to elementary, high school and college levels, both in public and private schools.
Mohagher Iqbal, peace panel chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said the launching of the campaign for the BOL ratification was organized by the MILF and simultaneously done in major cities and provinces in the ARMM.
“This is to educate the people about the benefits of ratification of the BOL,” Iqbal told reporters here. He estimated the crowd at Shariff Kabunsuan Complex, the provisional seat of the ARMM here, to comprise 100,000 individuals.
The gathering started at 6 a.m. and expected to last until late in the afternoon.
Hundreds of “bikers for peace” from various parts of Mindanao also came to this city in support of the BOL ratification.
The BOL, officially known as the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, targets to abolish the old ARMM set-up.
The new law creates the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) that would cover the old ARMM area components of Sulu, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan provinces, and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan.
Areas proposed for inclusion in the BARMM are 39 villages in North Cotabato; six municipalities in Lanao del Norte; and the cities of Cotabato and Isabela in Basilan, among others.
“The BARMM is the result of decades-long peace negotiations between the MILF and the national government,” Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, MILF chairman, said in his speech Monday before the huge crowd of supporters at the ARMM compound.
A plebiscite is scheduled on Jan. 21 next year for the BOL ratification. (PNA)