Islamic Scholars Pledge Support for Bangsamoro Law at Plebiscite


Cotabato City, Philippines MINA — Hundreds of mainstream Islamic theologians have committed to the campaign for a “yes” vote at the January 21 plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), Philstar reported.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim said Thursday he is thankful that Muslim preachers from across Mindanao have manifested their support for BOL during an assembly in Cotabato City last Tuesday.

He said the MILF also appreciates support for the BOL from indigenous Lumad and Christian sectors in Mindanao, among them priests led by Cardinal Orlando Quevedo.

Quevedo, who belong to the Vatican-based Oblates of Mary Immaculate congregation, is also archbishop of the Cotabato Diocese covering Cotabato City, parts of the adjoining Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato provinces.

About a thousand moderate clerics from the five provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and nearby administrative regions participated in Tuesday’s event, called the General Assembly of the Ulama Council of the Philippines.

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Ulama means a community of clerics, imams and preachers in Islamic schools.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, a staunch supporter of the peace process between the government and the MILF, and his son, Jhazzer, a senior member of the provincial board, were guests at the gathering.

Mangudadatu’s younger brother, Khadafe, a member of the ARMM’s 24-seat Regional Assembly was also at the event.

Murad and Mangudadatu were guest speakers in the assembly in Cotabato City.

Senior ARMM officials said support of Mindanao’s Ulama community for the full implementation of the BOL will boost efforts towards a durable peace.


Maguindanao supports BOL

Mangudadatu said he attended the assembly to disprove political rumors he is against the BOL.

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“I have proven once again that they are nothing but liars when I affixed my signature to a manifesto promising to campaign for the approval of BOL by the electorate during that gathering of members of the Philippine Ulama group,” Mangudadatu said.

The governor said he has been spending his own money and mobilizing members of the Manggudadatu clan for pro-BOL activities, contrary to insinuations by his detractors.

Mangudadatu said the league of mayors in Maguindanao are also for the implementation, “in letter and spirit” of the BOL.

Murad also signed in the “peace manifesto” that participants signed to show their commitment to the campaign for BOL ratification.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, was represented in the Ulama assembly by clerics from offices in the regional government.

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Like Mangudadatu and Lanao del Sur Vice Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr., Hataman has been vocal in his support of the peace process with the MILF.


BOL implements 2014 peace agreement

The BOL is the enabling measure for the replacement of the ARMM with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or BARMM

The transition government of the new region will be led by the MILF until elections for its parliament are conducted.

The BOL plebiscite in January will be administered in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the ARMM.

Six towns in Lanao del Sur that are administratively under Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) and more than a dozen barangays in North Cotabato in the Soccsksargen region. (T/RS5/RS1)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)