14 January 2022

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court on January 12, 2023 to uphold the inclusion of Cotabato City in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The said decision of the Supreme Court En Banc should finally put to rest questions regarding the legality of the conduct of the plebiscite held on January 29, 2019 to determine the inclusion of the City of Cotabato in the BARMM and the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

It is worth noting that the Supreme Court’s decision not only ruled that the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) had fully complied with the requirements of the BOL in the conduct of the plebiscite, but also gave credibility to the constitutional mandate of the COMELEC to ensure the Bangsamoro people’s right to suffrage.

More importantly, the Supreme Court’s decision upholds the sovereign will of the people of Cotabato City to chart the socio-political and socio-economic course of their beloved homeland. The 38,682 votes are concrete proof that the people of Cotabato City want to be part of the growth and development of the BARMM, one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.

With the decision of the Supreme Court, the result of the 2019 plebiscite is now beyond question. We would therefore like to call on the local leaders and people of Cotabato City and the BARMM to continue to work together and sustain the economic growth and progress of the region.

This is, after all, the true spirit of the BOL, which is to ensure that the Bangsamoro people – regardless of tribe, religion or belief — are able to partake of the dividends of genuine peace and sustainable development under a democratic, just and humane society.

We thank the members of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo for the support to the Philippine’s Comprehensive Peace Process. ###