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At least 24 of 67 villages in Cotabato to join Bangsamoro region; Lanao del Norte votes no for 6 towns

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COMELEC

UNOFFICIAL AND partial results released by the joint military-police-Commission on Elections (Comelec) monitoring office indicate a majority support for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), but new areas joining the new region are limited.

The Comelec-Region 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN) announced that unofficial results indicate that at least 24 of the 67 barangays in Cotabato that were up for decision would be joining the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) region.

Election officials, in a live-streamed press conference from Midsayap, Cotabato, said the likely new areas of the BARMM would be Carmen (7 barangays), Pigkawayan (12 of 28), Aleosan (2 of 4), and Kabacan (3).

Results were unclear yet in Midsayap and Pikit, where 12 and 11 villages, respectively, are at stake.

Lanao del Norte, on the other hand, voted no by a huge margin on the inclusion of the towns of Baloi, Pantar, Nunungan, Munai, Tangcal, and Tagoloan, according to Comelec-Region 10 (Northern Mindanao).

The six towns, all voting to break away from the province and become part of BARMM, were defeated by the majority vote within the entire Lanao del Norte, which is composed of 22 municipalities.




Final and official results will be announced by the national board of canvassers in Manila after the certificates have been transmitted and verified.

MOVING FORWARD
Lanao del Norte 1st District Rep. Mohamad Khalid Q. Dimaporo thanked the government’s security forces and all stakeholders for the peaceful conduct of the plebiscite in the province, where members of his political clan campaigned strongly for a no vote.

“Irregardless of the results, I appeal that we will always try to find ways to maintain peace in our province, and we will again rely on our PNP (Philippine National Police) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines),” he said in a video message posted on his official Facebook account Thursday morning, before the results were announced.

Mr. Dimaporo also made special mention to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and its head, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr., to take a lead role in carrying out the government’s program aimed at ending the armed conflicts.

“And I would like to appeal to the OPAPP, Secretary Galvez, that we find ways to move forward here in Lanao del Norte,” Mr. Dimaporo said, “Elections are always divisive, but once the elections have been concluded, we have to find ways as a province, as a people to mend our differences and move together as one province, one community. That is the future that we’ll have to work on.”

The World Bank, meanwhile, lauded the generally peaceful holding of the BOL plebiscite, which it described “as a significant milestone toward sustained momentum for lasting peace, stability, and prosperity in Mindanao.”

In a statement on Thursday, World Bank also reaffirmed its commitment to continue supporting economic and social development initiatives in the region.

“Much work remains translating the promise of autonomy and the peace process into security and prosperity for the Bangsamoro people and all the people of Mindanao,” it said, “The World Bank Group stands ready to intensify its longstanding work with the Government, the people of the new Bangsamoro region and their leaders, as well as other sectors of society to improve the lives of residents, particularly the poor, and help achieve lasting peace and inclusive growth.” — Marifi S. Jara

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