Comelec approves inclusion of 6 More North Cotabato Villages in Bangsamoro Plebiscite

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) approved six more resolutions of barangays in North Cotabato asking that they be allowed to participate in the forthcoming plebiscite for the ratification of the Republic Act No. 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) come February 6.

In the Omnibus Resolution promulgated by the Comelec on January 4, 2019, the approved petitions were that of Barangays Fort Pikit and Pamalian in the municipality of Pikit; Barangays Simone, Buluan and Tamped in the municipality of Kabacan, and Barangay Tumbras in the municipality of Midsayap.

The Comelec said that the Commission (En Banc) found that these petitioner-local government units have complied with all of the requirements under the law and the rules and have sufficiently established that the territory of each of them is contiguous to that of the local government units enumerated in Section 2 (a), (b), (c) and (e) of the Article III of the BOL.

Meanwhile, for lack of merit, the Comelec denied the petitions of Barangay Cabpangi in the municipality of Pigcawayan; Barangays Dalingaoen, Bulod and Inug-ug in the municipality of Pikit; Barangay Lanoon in Carmen, and Barangay Rangeban in the municipality of Midasayap.

The municipalities of Pigcawayan, Pikit, Carmen and Midsayap are all in North Cotabato.

Also denied by the Comelec for lack of merit were the petitions of Barangays Landang Gua and Busay in Zamboanga City.

The territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, aside from the areas already listed in the BOL, includes “any other contiguous area there is a resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least ten percent (10%) of registered voters in the local government unit asking for its inclusion at least two months prior to the conduct of the ratification of this Organic Law shall form part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region if the majority of the votes cast in the political units directly affected shall be in favor of the inclusion of the petitioning local government unit in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

On December 20 last year, the Comelec promulgated Omnibus Resolution approving petitions of 20 villages in North Cotabato.

The 20 petitioning villages in North Cotabato approved earlier by Comelec to join the forth coming plebiscite are Libungan Torreta, Pangankalan, Datu Mantil, and Simsiman, all in Pigcawayan town; Rajahmuda, Barungis, Gli-Gli, Nalapaan, Panicupan, Bualan, Nabundas, Nunguan, Manaulanan, and Bulol, all in Pikit; Pebpoluan, Kibayao, Kitulaan, Tupig, and Langogan, all in Carmen; and Pagangan in Aleosan.

The number of petitioning barangays in North Cotabato approved by the Comelec has now reached 26 out of the 44 petitions filed with the Comelec in Manila last October 30 and November 5 by North Cotabato Board Member Mohamad Kelie Antao.

Antao filed the petitions for and in behalf of the barangay captains of the petitioning barangays. He was assisted by some Moro lawyers led by Atty. Raisa Jajurie, a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) that drafted the erstwhile Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that became what is now known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

The plebiscite for the ratification of the BOL is set this coming February 6 for the municipalities in the province of Lanao del Norte (except Iligan City) and the six municipalities in North Cotabato as well as other local government units whose petitions for inclusion will be approved by the Comelec.

For the provinces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the cities of Cotabato and Isabela, the plebiscite will be held come January 21.