Murad Ebrahim, chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. AFP file photo
COTABATO CITY—Without special treatment, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim will cast his vote in Simuay town in Sultan Kudarat—near the MILF’s seat Camp Darapanan— for the upcoming plebiscite on Monday.
Camp Darapanan, where retired General Carlito Galvez, then Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief, visited in October last year, has been the MILF’s largest base during the Moro group’s five decade of struggle against the government.
Galvez’s historic visit to the camp in October last year formally declared an end of the government’s war against the MILF.
Murad joined the MILF in 1981, following the leadership struggle between the late Hashim Salamat and Nur Misuari, chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
Murad said the overwhelming support of President Rodrigo Duterte for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) boosted the morale of the “yes” supporters.
READ: Duterte: Vote ‘yes’ for Bangsamoro Law
“Tayo po ay magkaisa, magsama-sama at bumoto ng yes para mapabilang sa milyun-milyong kababayan na naghahangad ng kapayapaan [Let us all unite and together vote yes to be among the million fellow citizens who long for peace],” said Ebrahim, noting that the yes vote would be a vote for peace.
He also thanked President Duterte’s full support for the Bangsamoro people. “Kung hindi naging presidente si Duterte hanggang ngayon ay naghahangad pa rin tayo ng kapayapaan (If President Duterte had not become president, we would still be aspiring for peace up until now).”
Duterte urged the voters to support the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law. “Mga mahal kong mga Moro brothers and sisters magboto kayo ng ‘yes,’ kundi di na ako pupunta dito (So, my dear Moro brothers and sisters, you vote yes for BOL, or else, I will not come back here,” said Duterte, partly in jest.
The streets were packed with thousands of green-shirted pro-BOL advocates expressing support for the ratification of the BOL, which they believed is the key to the lasting peace in Muslim Mindanao. The peace rally attended by the President, national and local officials, Moro fronts leaders and thousands of supporters ended at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) counted a total of 9,377 clustered precincts for the entire plebiscite areas, which include Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Cotabato City, Isabela City, Lanao del Norte, and the seven municipalities of North Cotabato. /jpv
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