QUEZON CITY, 4 February 2019 – Majority of the youth who will vote in the February 6 Bangsamoro plebiscite will allow six Lanao del Norte towns and 67 North Cotabato barangays to be included in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). This is according to a survey released by peacebuilding NGO International Alert Philippines.
The group had released surveys in December 2018 and January 2019 that predicted a win for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) based on the youth vote. The “yes” votes won the first round of the BOL referendum held last January 21 in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Isabela City, and Cotabato City which led to its ratification. Isabela City opted-out of the measure.
Higher youth familiarity
According to International Alert statistician Angelo Casalan, the percentage of youth voting in favor of the BOL in Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato increased both from 53% in 2018 to 71% and 83% in 2019, respectively.
Casalan said that this increase may be due the increase in the youth’s familiarity of the measure. This year, 98% of youth in Lanao del Norte were familiar with the BOL, compared to 64% in 2018. More youth in North Cotabato were also familiar with the BOL by January (98%) compared to October to November last year (86%).
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has been campaigning hard for the inclusion of the 6 Lanao del Norte towns in the BARMM. On January 31, MILF commander Abdullah Macapaar, also known as Commander Bravo, released a Facebook video calling for a “yes” vote to pave the way for peace and development in the region. Bravo said that a “no” vote might lead to violence in Lanao del Norte.
Francisco Lara, Jr., International Alert Senior Peace and Conflict Adviser - Asia, however noted that fewer “yes” votes in the province compared to the North Cotabato towns may be attributed to the Dimaporo clan’s opposition to the inclusion of the 6 municipalities in the BARMM.
Lanao del Norte Gov. Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo had announced that she and local officials, including the province’s two district representatives Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo and his father Abdullah, support the passage of the BOL but are opposed to the planned inclusion of the six towns because the Internal Revenue Allotment of the province will be reduced, and this will affect the allocation of funds for towns that will not be included in the BARMM.
could still be attributed to the concerns arising from the December 2018 Cotabato City blast,” Casalan said.