BY MB ONLINE
In a few days, historic voting will take place in several areas of Mindanao, which will impact not only the region but its people.
Mindanaoans will be voting for plebiscite of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which will determine whether the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will be created or not.
Voting will start on January 21, Monday, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Isabela, and Cotabato.
On February 6, Wednesday, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., citizens from Lanao del Norte will participate in the voting, except Iligan City, and 39 barangays from North Cotabato’s six municipalities namely Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pigkawayan, and Pikit.
According to Commission on Election (Comelec), only registered voters are allowed to participate in the plebiscite.
Other citizens in certain areas who filed a resolution or petition for voluntary inclusion approved by Comelec may also vote.
‘How to vote’
Those who wish to vote no longer need to present a voter’s identification card.
Voters must look for their names in the Precinct Computerized Voters List to identify what precinct number and sequence number they are assigned.
Then, they must disclose their name, precinct number, and sequence number to the members of Plebiscite Committee (PlebCom).
Once identified as a registered voter, an official ballot will be given to the voter.
The number of questions in each ballot varies depending on the voting area.
A simple “OO (YES)” or “HINDI (NO)” are the only allowed answers.
For ARMM, except for Basilan, the question would be: “Payag ba kayo na pagtibayin ang Batas Republika 11054 na kilala din bilang “Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao?”
Other questions would specify the areas if they agree with the implementation of the BOL.
Should majority vote for “OO (YES),” ARMM will be called BARMM instead
Areas outside ARMM —- Isabela, Lanao del Norte, and Cotabato (including North Cotabato’s six municipalities) — also need a majority vote of “OO (YES” in order to be included in BARMM.
If “OO (YES)” wins in a certain municipality/city, the province where it belongs should also have the same result for it to be acknowledged as part of the BARMM.
For example, for the municipality of Pantar in Lanao del Norte to be included in BARMM, Pantar and the entire of Lanao del Norte should get a majority vote of “OO (YES)”.
On July 26, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the BOL. Malacanang immediately released it, also known as the Republic Act Number 11054 a day after the signing.
This creates a landmark for Duterte, being the first Mindanaoan president, in a promise to create a new Bangsamoro region in replacement of ARMM.
BOL aims to abolish ARMM replacing it with BARMM in order to bring peace in the region.
“This is the beginning of peace in Mindanao. This is the start of unity between Muslims and Christians,” Babaidi Budain, a housewife, said in an interview with AFP.
With BOL, a greater fiscal autonomy, regional government, parliament, and justice system will be established.
According to RA No. 110541, the purpose of BOL is to establish a political entity, provide for its basic structure of government in recognition of the justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people.
Currently, the ARMM is composed of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. (Carlo Anolin, Kate Marajas, Noreen Jazul)