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EU HAILS PEACEFUL PLEBISCITE, VOWS SUPPORT FOR BOL



MANILA -- The European Union (EU) Delegation in Manila praised the Philippines for the peaceful conduct of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite in Cotabato City last Monday.

In a statement released Friday night, the bloc in concurrence with all EU heads of diplomatic missions in the Philippines, congratulated the government, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) "for the generally peaceful conduct" of the initial polls before the second phase of the plebiscite.

"The EU is prepared to continue to support the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law and to work closely with the relevant stakeholders towards long-lasting peace, development and prosperity for the benefit of Mindanao and the Filipino people," the statement read.

The EU stressed that the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) serves as a "significant milestone in the history of the Philippines."

"The European Union has been a staunch supporter of the Mindanao Peace Process throughout the years, expressing its political support, encouraging all sides to pursue a peaceful solution and providing substantial financial support for the process," it noted.

On Friday, the Comelec en banc, sitting as the National Plebiscite Board of Canvassers (NPBOC) proclaimed the ratification of the BOL after canvassing all four Certificates of Canvass of the Monday's plebiscite.

Based on the canvassing, people from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) voted in favor of the BARMM's creation with 1,540,017.

Cotabato City also opted to join the BARMM, with 36,682 'Yes' votes.

The second BOL plebiscite will be held on February 6 to determine if the province of Lanao del Norte; the municipalities of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pikit, and Pigkawayan in the province of North Cotabato will be part of the new autonomous political entity. (PNA)

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