In the coming days, the peaceful province of Lanao del Norte particularly the people will undergo another test in choosing its future by participating in a plebiscite on February 6, 2019, not for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) but for deciding whether or not its 6 municipalities be included in the Bangsamoro Territory or will remain part of the province and in Region 10.

The Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte headed by Governor Imelda ‘Angging’ Quibranza-Dimaporo, Chairperson of the Provincial Peace and Order Council organized a meeting with all stakeholders in preparation particularly the security of the people for the upcoming plebiscite held at MCC Rianas Function Hall, Sagadan, Municipality of Tubod.

1st District Representative, Congressman Mohamad Khalid Quibranza Dimaporo and 2nd District Representative, Congressman Abdullah ‘Bobby’ Dimakuta Dimaporo joins the meeting and provide necessary inputs to help maintain and have a peaceful plebiscite.

Governor Angging said in the meeting that politicians should not take advantage of the time by using the campaign period for their personal political interest instead of discussing to the constituents of Lanao del Norte the advantages and disadvantages regarding the issue on the inclusion of the 6 municipalities to Bangsamoro Territory.

“It is sad to know that our political opponents are using in their advantage the issue on BOL, providing misinformation by misleading the people that we, the Dimaporo do not support the BOL, when in fact our two Congressmen were instrumental for the passage of RA 11054. Our opponents are using this platform to discredit us politically for the coming election in May. The issue in Lanao del Norte is not about the ratification of BOL, it is about the inclusion of the 6 municipalities that help protect and preserve the peace and order in the province and in sustaining the harmonious relationship between Muslim and Christian residents here in our beloved province.”

2nd District Representative, Congressman Abdullah ‘Bobby’ Dimakuta Dimaporo, the champion of peace in Lanao del Norte, shared that the Philippine Constitution dictates the people to vote, and questions why the people outside of Lanao del Norte meddles with the affair in mass. “If the government is correct in its implementation of peace, peaceful plebiscite, peaceful election, they should make sure that none will bother the residents in order that they can vote freely with their own will, not by the will of the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) or anyone outside of the province or even the will of the officials of our government. We should freely be allowed to discuss this among ourselves and then vote freely. The thought of MILF coming down already intimidates the Christian residents in the coastal municipalities and much more seeing them in mass.”

Congressman Mohamad Khalid Quibranza Dimaporo responding to the appeal of MILF legal council to allow people not from the province to freely come-in and interfere on the day of the plebiscite, “Here in Lanao del Norte, speaking as a former Governor, we cannot allow that, the fact that Marawi was under siege by the ISIS is because they have opened their borders and Lanao del Sur does not take care of their boundary security, here in Lanao del Norte, we have to be very strict about that, just last week there was a fight with the ISIS, that’s why we cannot simply open our borders and just anybody can come-in, that is our appeal and our request, you properly coordinate with us, there is no problem with the MILF campaigning here, so long as they campaign peacefully. But you have to understand where we are, this is Lanao del Norte not Lanao del Sur. In Lanao del Sur they can do as they please, in and out of Marawi City that’s why Marawi siege happened. Here in Lanao del Norte, we close our provincial boundaries, we stick with our AFP, we stick with our PNP, we do not let ISIS coming-in to our province. Once they enter our province, the next step is the rest of Northern Mindanao. We are the front door of Northern Mindanao, Region 10, so we have to keep our padlocks on. And if there is someone who wants to come-in, we need to know who they are and what their intention are.”

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Secretary Galvez assures the people of the Province of Lanao del Norte that the Philippine Government will always be on top of the situation. The Armed Forces of the Philippines commits to Governor Angging that a total of three (3) Battalions will be based in the province and the Philippine National Police will send more troops from the region to augment its personnel in ensuring a peaceful and orderly plebiscite on February 6, 2019. PIO-LDN