63 North Cotabato villages under BARRM awaiting Comelec guide on May 13 polls
KIDAPAWAN CITY — Officials at the Commission on Election (Comelec) in North Cotabato are still at a loss as to whether or not the 63 villages that already form part of the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) can still vote during the May 13 midterm elections this year.
Lawyer Jay Herada, North Cotabato election supervisor, could not yet give the direct answer to the question but said the office was awaiting the guidelines and directives from the main office on the fate of the 63 villages, whose people had voted for inclusion in the BARMM after the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) was ratified in a plebiscite on Jan. 21.
“I cannot comment on that in the meantime since there is no clear directive yet from our office in Manila,” Herada told the Inquirer in a mobile phone interview.
Herada said their only clear mandate was the conduct of an orderly and peaceful plebiscite on Feb. 6, when the villages had voted for their inclusion in the BARMM.
Despite the lack of directives, however, the provincial election supervisor said the office still conducted education and information campaign on the local elections in the 63 villages that would form part of the BARMM.
Herada said teachers in the 63 villages had undergone training to prepare them for the midterm elections.
“We will continue the preparations in all villages of North Cotabato until we receive the directives,” Herada said. “We continue the training,
especially of the teachers who will serve as Board of Election Inspector,” Herada said./lzb
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