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SECOND ROUND OF BOL PLEBISCITE

Six Lanao del Norte towns excluded from BARMM

TUBOD, LANAO DEL NORTE — A majority of the 22 towns in the province voted against letting go of six municipalities that had been proposed for inclusion in the new Muslim autonomous region, according to official results of the plebiscite released by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) here on Thursday.

The Joint Task Force Plebisito had reported that 157,629 votes went against while 81,542 were for inclusion of the towns of Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan, Baloi and Tangkal in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

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The towns of Pantao Ragat, Poona Piagapo and Salvador voted yes with the six for inclusion.

The no votes won in 13 towns: Kauswagan, Linamon, Matungao, Bacolod, Baroy, Kapatagan, Kolambogan, Lala, Maigo, Magsaysay, Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Sapad and Tubod.

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“The no votes is overwhelming. Although the yes votes won in the six towns, it lost in the whole province, which means the six towns cannot join the BARMM,” said Comelec provincial director Joseph Hamilton Cuevas.

He said the province, which has 334,356 registered voters, registered an election turnout of 69 percent.

“This is the most peaceful plebiscite in the whole country,” he said.

Wednesday’s plebiscite was the second on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) intended to determine how many additional areas were to be included in the BARMM. The proposal was to include the six Lanao del Norte towns and 67 villages in seven towns in Cotabato province.

The first plebiscite on Jan. 21 ratified the BOL, which establishes the BARMM and is the final step in the 2014 peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

21 villages vote yes

In Midsayap, Cotabato, election officials announced that 21 of the 67 villages from the towns of Pigcawayan, Aleosan, Carmen and Tulunan voted to join BARMM based on the completed canvass of plebiscite returns.

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The four towns are among the seven where the 67 villages are located. The others are Pikit, Kabacan and Midsayap.

Lanao del Norte Gov. Imelda Dimaporo said they were concerned about the alleged threats made by MILF commander Bravo against the province.

“In the next 24 hours, we have to be vigilant because he was threatening us during his last video,” she said.

She asked Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde to extend the deployment of police in her province.

Commander Bravo had denied making any threats.

“The MILF is for the peace and order of the entire Lanao del Norte,” he told the Inquirer on Wednesday. “Even if the no vote would win, there still would be no trouble because we follow the chain of command. We leave everything to (MILF chair) Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, who would be the Chief of Parliament as the Bangsamoro Organic Law has already been ratified in the (Jan. 21) plebiscite.”

In Manila, the Comelec en banc, acting as the National Plebiscite Board of Canvassers (NPBOC), on Thursday suspended the canvassing of the certificates of canvass (COCs).

Comelec Chair Sheriff Abas said the poll body was still waiting for the COCs from Lanao del Norte and Cotabato. —WITH A REPORT FROM TINA G. SANTOS AND RICHEL UMEL

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, BARMM, BOL plebiscite, Comelec, Cotabato, Lanao del Norte
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