On Duterte and the plebiscite on BOL

Further Comment by Jose Maria Sison
January 21, 2019

Despite the strong opposition of the MNLF, BIFF, several major sultans, governors and mayors and the popular sentiment among Maranaos against the destruction of Marawi City, it is highly probable that the yes vote will win in the plebsicite on BOL because of the advantageous position of Duterte due to the suasive force and effect of martial law, control of the Comelec and putting the PNP in charge of voting in so-called trouble spots, votebuying at 200 pesos per vote and 1000 pesos for each vote buying agent and payments in the millions to Comelec officials and to certain governors, congressmen and mayors.

The big problems will come after the railroading of the yes vote in the plebiscite. The MILF leadership in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority will either be willing to become an instrument of Duterte for the supression of the opposition forces and become embroiled in armed conflict with them or become assertive against the Manila government and try to win them over, especially the MNLF, BIFF and other Bangsamoro forces in order to enhance and fortify the Bangsamoro right of self-determination against the oppressive Manila government, which retains excessive powers and exploitative control over the human and natural resources of the Bangsamoro.

Like the ARMM, the BARMM and BTA will also be besieged by the conflicting demands of the Manila government and the local interests of dynasties, warlords and tribes. Remember that the MNLF leadership in ARMM became split and then was taken over by the Ampatuan dynasty. The adoption of the BOL and formation of BARMM have not been premised on regional autonomy under a nonoppresive Manila government and on basic social, economic and political reforms for the benefit of the Bangsamoro people and not for that of the local dynasties and warlords.

As I said before, Duterte is highhanded and heavy-handed. He did not make sufficient consultations and consensus with all Bangsamoro forces concerned in order to make a clearer and more just path to peace, stability and development in the Bangsamoro region. He is a bumbling tyrant who does not solve problems intelligently with the consent of all concerned. He is complicating further a longruning complicated and violent situation in the Bangsamoro region.

Duterte and his propaganda agents claim that I do not know much about the problems in the Bangsamoro region. I am in touch with the representatives of various Bangsamoro forces and other people in mixed communities. Thus, I know exactly how much the vote-buying agents of Duterte are paying to the ordinary poor voters and how much in millions are the Comelec officials and certain governors, congressmen and mayors are getting to rig the plebsicite. It is something easily expected that Duterte will get the yes vote for BOL as a result of martial law and vote-buying. It would indeed be too embarassing to him if the no vote would win.###

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