By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY (January 22, 2019) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi or (BaSulTa) area Tuesday reported that the canvassing of ballots in the provincial and municipal level were smooth and orderly.
Deputy head for the Bangsamoro Plebiscite in Basulta Comelec Director Teofisto Elnas, Jr., said “So far, matiwasay, tahimik, at orderly iyong canvassing natin. Iyong mga city and municipal boards of canvassers were able to convene and they were able to canvass.”
Elnas said “may mga areas pa na ongoing ang canvass pero marami na rin ang nakapagsubmit ng official results.”
Elnas, Jr. said as of 1pm Tuesday about 1,340,043 has voted for “yes” and about 192,502 has voted for “no” in the entire Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
According to Elnas, Jr., the voter turnout reached 60-70%, which is high, considering that it is a plebiscite
As of 1:30pm Tuesday, the BOL Plebiscite Monitoring Center reported for the provinces of Lanao del Sur (Yes- 503,626 No- 9,816), Maguindanao (Yes- 433,273 No- 15,990), Basilan (Yes- 123,694 No- 5,342), Sulu (Yes- 136,007 No- 151,935), Tawi-Tawi (Yes- 143,443 No- 9,419), Cotabato City (Yes- 38,186 No- 26,822), and Isabela City (Yes- 19,114 No- 22,375).
On whether Sulu province will be excluded, Elnas, Jr., explained “For the provinces of the ARMM, they are taken as one geographical unit, which does not include Isabela City. So ang titingnan diyan ay ang majority vote of all the votes actually cast doon sa mga probinsya ng ARMM. So kahit ‘no’ ang majority sa Sulu, kasama pa rin sila kapag ang regional result ay yes.”
Elnas, Jr. said, as far as Isabela City is concerned, the double majority rule will apply.
“Kasi sa province of Basilan, dalawa ang tanong. Una, kung payag ba sila na isama ang Isabela City sa BOL, at ikalawa kung iraratify ba nila ang BOL? While sa Isabela, ang tanong lang ay kung payag ba silang maging parte ng BARMM,” he added.
“Kung mananalo ang yes for both questions sa Province of Basilan, pero hindi payag ang Isabela City, ultimately hindi isasama ang Isabela City. Kung majority na vote sa Isabela ay yes, pero ang probinsya ayaw niyang isama ang Isabela City, hindi rin isasama ang Isabela City. Kaya double majority ang kailangan. Dapat payag ang Isabela City, at the same time, payag rin ang Probinsya ng Basilan,” the Comelec director further explained.
The Comelec Director said they expect to have the results before the end of the week.