OTABATO CITY, Philippines
Among the supporters of a new law to give greater autonomy to a Muslim-majority region of the Philippines are local evangelical Christians.
“We will support the law,” Aldrin Penamora, an evangelical Christian, told Anadolu Agency. “The law will make many contributions to the region. I believe that the law will bring economic development and security to the region where Christians, Muslims, [indigenous] Lumads, and other local peoples live.”
The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) will eliminate injustice against Muslims, he added, saying: “The centuries-long wounds of the historic injustice against the Moro people will heal.”
A referendum starting on Monday is set to grant the Bangsamoros or Moro — a collective term for Filipino Muslims living on an island in the southern Philippines — autonomy after a nearly 50-year process.
“The BOL law’s outcome is so important for our region,” said Anzarrih Mastura Matalam, a local Muslim leader.
“We see the law as the future of the region and as a source of hope for our children. I believe It will give the Moro more development, prosperity, and peace.”