THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) en banc convened on Tuesday morning as the National Plebiscite Board of Canvassers (NPBOC) to start the official count for the votes in the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite, but adjourned by 11:30 a.m. as it awaited vote certificates.
The Comelec tweeted that there were “No Certificate of Canvass of Votes (COCV) and Statement of Votes (SOV) to canvass as of 11:30AM today” and the en banc would reconvene at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, unofficial and partial results released by the joint military-police-Comelec monitoring office at the Western Mindanao Command headquarters indicate a landslide victory for the ratification of the law.
As of 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the unofficial count for all provinces in the ARMM, except Sulu, show a majority “yes” vote. The numbers are: Lanao del Sur, Yes- 503,626, No- 9,816, invalid- 23; Maguindanao, Yes- 283,374, No-182; Basilan, Yes- 123,694, No- 5,342; Tawi-Tawi, Yes- 143,443, No- 9,419, invalid- 27; and Sulu, Yes — 136,007, No — 151,935, invalid- 3.
In the two independent cities that participated in the referendum on the law that will officially form the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), results show a tight race with Cotabato City having 38,186 yes and 26,822 no votes, while Isabela City has 19,114 yes and 22,375 no.
Cotabato has 113,751 registered voters while Isabela has 71,124.
“We saw wide and massive victories for the yes votes (in various areas)… We also saw in the Iranun corridor a very festive atmosphere, a lot of optimism…and a near total shut-out of the ‘no’ vote,” International Alert Senior Peace and Conflict Adviser for Asia Francisco J. Lara Jr. said in a press conference in Cotabato City early Tuesday.
The Iranun is a Moro ethnic group whose population is concentrated in the towns of Parang, Matanog, Barira, and Buldon in Maguindanao province.
The Comelec said it will take a week for them to announce the final results of the plebiscite.
“Ang target namin ay one week kasi depende sa travel ng ER,” said Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas. (Our target is one week because this would depend on the transport of election returns.)
The board will resume session at 1:00 p.m. today.
Meanwhile, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) has released its Social Weather Survey showing that 79% of Muslims nationwide favor approval of the BOL.
The noncommissioned survey, conducted Dec. 16 to 19, also showed 76% of Muslims nationwide say the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is capable of governing the BARMM. But the results were tighter in Mindanao as a whole, showing 41% in favor of and 31% opposed to the BOL.
“Compared to other religions, net approval of the BOL was +15 (26% definitely/somewhat want it, 12% somewhat/definitely don’t want it, correctly rounded) among Iglesia ni Cristos, +10 (33% definitely/somewhat want it, 23% somewhat/definitely don’t want it) among Catholics, and +9 (37% definitely/somewhat want it, 28% somewhat/definitely don’t want it) among Other Christians,” SWS said.
“Among adults in Mindanao, while the plurality 28% were undecided if they want the BOL or not, the balance of opinion was pro-BOL,” the polling group noted.
“The survey found 30% of adults in Mindanao saying the MILF is capable of governing the BARMM (consisting of 19% saying definitely capable, and 10% somewhat capable) and 38% saying they are not capable (consisting of 11% somewhat not capable and 28% definitely not capable). The remaining 32% were undecided about the matter.”
“This gives a net capability score of -9 (% definitely/somewhat capable MINUS % somewhat/definitely not capable).”
The survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide: 360 each in Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao, with sampling error margins of ±2.6% for national percentages, and ±5% each for the said areas.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement:
“The Bangsamoro people have enough of war, terrorism and poverty. They hunger for peace and thirst for development in Mindanao.” — Tajallih S. Basman and Gillian M. Cortez