By Leslie Ann Aquino
Instead of holding a special registration for the upcoming plebiscite for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region as provided by the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is intensifying the ongoing voter registration.
“According to the law, there must be a special registration. But since there is an overlap in the existing voter registration, what the Comelec will do is we will intensify our ongoing registration activities,” Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said in a press briefing Wednesday.
“We will make it mandatory for various field offices in the area to conduct satellite registrations,” he added.
Jimenez said they will send special registration teams to make sure that the intensification of registration is carried out.
As for Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, he said the registration will resume after the conduct of the September 22 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls there.
“As of now there is no registration there, but soon there will be,” he said.
The continuing voter registration started July 2 and will end on September 29.
And although the last day of registration is on September 29, Jimenez said the registration will be extended for 10 to 15 days in Marawi.
“This is to accommodate people in the area who want to register and perhaps participate in the plebiscite,” he said.
The Comelec is eyeing to hold the plebiscite in January.
Based on the proposed Bangramoro Autonomous Region, being eyed for inclusion are the current provinces under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which are Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.
Also being eyed for inclusion in the to-be-formed region are 39 barangays in North Cotabato, six municipalities in Lanao del Norte, and the cities of Cotabato in Maguindanao, and Isabela in Basilan.
Under the law, only a favorable result of the plebiscite, both for the areas proposed for inclusion as well as their mother units, shall result to their inclusion to the new region.