Lanao Sur town residents oppose Bangsamoro inclusion

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

WAO, Lanao del Sur – An estimated 20,000 non-Muslim residents of Wao town in Lanao del Sur opposed the inclusion of their municipality to the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity once the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro becomes a law.

Edna Espinosa, chairperson of LIHOK WAO, urged the Government of the Philippines peace panel represented by former Agriculture Secretary Senen Bacani to provide a copy of the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

"We were not consulted before it was submitted for review and signature of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in Malacañang on March 27," said Espinosa.


Bacani answered, "We couldn’t give you a copy yet because it is still a final draft. It is being reviewed at the Office of the President."

Lanao del Sur residents
LANAO DEL SUR. An estimated 20,000 residents of Wao in Lanao del Sur province oppose the inclusion of their municipality in the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity in a public consultation before the Government of the Philippines Peace Panel and Bangsamoro Transition Commission representatives with the provincial government at Magsaysay plaza here on Monday, April 21, 2014. (Richel Umel of Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro)

However, he is confident that Congress and the Senate will approve the Bangsamoro Basic Law before the plebiscite takes place.

In a public consultation here on Monday, some residents are apprehensive that their lands might be affected when CAB will be implemented. However, Lanao del Sur Provincial Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr., said, “Bilang inyong Gobernador hindi ko kayo pababayaan dahil mahal ko kayong lahat mga taga-Wao (As your governor, I will not leave you because I love all of you).”

Pedrito Eisma, Christian representative to Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), assured the Wao residents saying, "The Christians would not be in disadvantage in the process for I will represent our sentiment to the BTC."

Wao town Mayor Elvino Balicao Jr. told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro he will listen to his constituents for they are the ones who elected and put him in the position. "I am not afraid even to the extent of putting at stake my political career."

Balicao Jr. encouraged his constituents to send their message to the peace panel on whatever sentiments they may have to aware the national leadership.

"Bilang inyong local executive, ako’y kasama ninyo (Being your local executive, I am always with you),” Balicao said.

The people of Wao carried their placards showing their sentiment: exclude Wao from the Bangsamoro.

Wao town is a second class municipality with 27 barangays and six of which are Muslim communities. It is a recipient of Galing Award on Solid Waste Management and Seal of Good Housekeeping in previous years.

Based on history Wao was once a conflict-torn municipality when the Muslim-Christian conflict brokeout in the 70s where hundreds of lives perished. Later the conflict escalated in the cities of Marawi and Iligan and in Lanao del Norte province.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 22, 2014.

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