Residents of the Province of Lanao del Norte expressed their gratitude to both District Representatives, 1st District Congressman Mohamad Khalid Quibranza Dimaporo and 2nd District Congressman Abdullah ‘Bobby’ Dimakuta Dimaporo for their firm stand against the automatic inclusion of the six municipalities of the province in the Bangsamoro territory without the approval of the general populace. The members of BBL Bicameral body favor the version of the House of Representatives which suggests for a plebiscite in the entire province and not to disregard the voice of the people.

The House of Representatives version strongly underline Article X Section 10 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which was the basis of the Supreme Court decision in the case of Umali versus Comelec.

Section 10 of Article X states that “No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected.”

Based on this jurisprudence it paved the argument of the two District Representatives which is sufficient enough to support their stand as representatives of the people.

An excerpt from the SC decision: Respondents’ (Comelec, Julius Cesar V. Vergara, and the City Government of Cabanatuan) apprehension that requiring the entire province to participate in the plebiscite will set a dangerous precedent leading to the failure of cities to convert is unfounded. Their fear that provinces will always be expected to oppose the conversion in order to retain the city’s dependence is speculative at best. In any event, any vote of disapproval cast by those directly affected by the conversion is a valid exercise of their right to suffrage, and our democratic processes are designed to uphold the decision of the majority, regardless of the motive behind the vote. It is unfathomable how the province can be deprived of the opportunity to exercise the right of suffrage in a matter that is potentially deleterious to its economic viability and could diminish the rights of its constituents. To limit the plebiscite to only the voters of the areas to be partitioned and seceded from the province is as absurd and illogical as allowing only the secessionists to vote for the secession that they demanded against the wishes of the majority and to nullify the basic principle of majority rule.”

The six municipalities play a vital role in preserving the peace and order of Lanao del Norte and the entire region of Northern Mindanao. They are considered the buffer zones of the coastal municipalities – the trading route linking Zamboanga Peninsula to the rest of Mindanao and one of the major contributory factors propelling the progress and development of the province.

With this Bicameral decision, the residents of the Province of Lanao del Norte was happy to express their thoughts in social media thanking the two Congressmen and Provincial Governor Imelda ‘Angging’ Quibranza-Dimaporo for their genuine commitment in protecting and serving the people of Lanao del Norte, “The Land of Beauty and Bounty.” PIO-LDN