Security leaders vow peaceful plebiscite, polls


DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. and other top military and police commanders met with local leaders in Maguindanao on Thursday to defuse tension following the recent bombing incident in Cotabato City.

It was also to assure the city of a peaceful conduct of the upcoming Bangsamoro Organic Law (BoL) plebiscite and midterm polls.

Lorenzana said they came here to prevent speculation and “finger-pointing” on the bombing, which claimed two lives and injured a number of people.

“We are here to defuse the tensions and we don’t want to escalate the conflict,” Lorenzana said.

Among those who attended the dialogue were Cotabato Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, Maguindanao First District and Cotabato City Rep. Bai Sandra Sema, and Bangsamoro Islamic Forces Chief of Staff Sammy Gambar Al-Mansoor.

Lorenzana said a presentation made during the security briefing led by 6th Infantry Division commander Maj. General Cirilito Sobejana suggests the bombing had the signature of a local terror group.

“Until we get to the bottom of this, we consider this incident a terror attack,” he said, adding the initial investigation “points to Dawla Islamiyah terror group.”

The Defense Chief said their intention in coming here was to ensure the people “to have a free and peaceful elections and plebiscites.”

The plebiscite is scheduled on January 21, 2019 in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Cotabato City, and Isabela City for the ratification of the BOL.