Official tally: 'Yes' vote for BOL wins in Cotabato City
COTABATO CITY — Despite the strong opposition of the Cotabato City’s mayor to the inclusion of the city in the new Bangsamoro entity, the “yes” votes still prevailed in plebiscite conducted to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
After about 24 hours of vote counting, the Cotabato City Plebiscite Board of Canvassers (CPBOC), which is part of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), announced the official tally at 8:44 p.m. on on Monday at the canvassing area in the city.
The poll garnered 36,682 “yes” votes compared to the 24,994 “no” votes in the city’s 374 precincts. The city has 113,751 voters in 37 villages.
Supporters inside and outside the canvassing area rejoiced, chanting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great). They believe the new law would be the answer to the decade-long struggle of the Bangsamoro.
The CPBOC will immediately submit certificates of canvass and summary of votes to the Comelec central office in Intramuros, Manila.
“Official result will be announced by the National Board of Canvassers and we will await for the formal declaration,” Romel Rama election officer said.
Mohaqer Iqbal, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace implementing panel, clarified that they had nothing against the ‘no’ voters.
Though tension rose in some precincts in the city, the Comelec and the Armed Forces of the Philippines believe that it was a successful and peaceful plebiscite.
Described as the crown jewel of the Bangsamoro, Cotabato City will now be part of the new Bangsamoro core territories and will no longer be part of Region 12 (Socsargen).
The city has the lowest average monthly crime rate. It is also recognized as the safest city in Region 12 and second safest city in the country.
At present, the city is the seat of the 29-year-old autonomous regional government which will be soon replaced by Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Cotabato City twice rejected the plebiscites which include Organic Act of the ARMM (RA 6734) in 1989, and expanded ARMM Law (RA 9054) in 2001.
If this plebiscite will successfully ratify the BOL, territorial jurisdiction of the BARMM would include the ARMM, six municipalities in Lanao del Norte, 39 villages in North Cotabato, and the cities of Cotabato and Isabela. /ee