Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao updates
LATEST UPDATE: June 18, 2019 - 4:29pm
LOCATION:
ISABELA CITY
COTABATO CITY
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
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21 hours ago

The commander of a military task force in Sulu assures Malaysian authorities that offensives against the Abu Sayyaf have not stopped amid concerns that the group will strike targets in Sabah.
 
Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS) and the 11th Infantry Division, said troop strength has been building up with the fresh deployment of soldiers.

The latest was the deployment of Marine Battalion Landing Team-7 on Tuesday from Maguindanao. MBLT-7 joins the Philippine Marines Ready Force-Sulu, which is under the command of JTFS.

Another Marine battalion will be deployed to Sulu after the completion of retraining in Manila.

Pabayo said they also received last month the 1st Brigade Combat Team to complete the 11th ID.

"Operations against the ASG are relentless," Pabayo says. -- The STAR/Roel Pareño in Zamboanga City

1 day ago

The five-year-old child who was attacked by ten stray dogs in Isabela City in Basilan on Monday has died.

Photos of Edzhar Damsani on a hospital bed went viral on Monday and residents blame the Isabela City government for its poor enforcement of Republic Act 9482, of the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007 which requires local governments to make sure dogs are immunized and to "strictly enforce Dog Impounding activities and field control to eliminate stray dogs."

Station dxNO in Isabela City reported Monday that city health officials said there have been 300 dog bite cases in the city in recent months.

In a statement, Mayor-elect Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman said she heard of the problem of stray dogs in Isabela City during campaign sorties for the May elections.

"I'm a mother. This incident breaks my heart. From Allah we came, to him is our return," said Turabin Hataman, who will take office as Isabela City's mayor on June 30.

She said she will ask the city council, to be led by a new vice mayor, Kifli Hataman, to help her formulate measures needed to address the problem on stray dogs roaming in the barangays. — The STAR/John Unson in Cotabato City

1 day ago

Personnel of the 7th Marine Battalion on Sunday left Maguindanao on a ship to augment state forces fighting the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.

Officials of the Philippine Marine Corps, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Brigade based in nearby seaside Lebak town in Sultan Kudarat led Sunday’s sendoff rite for hundreds of Marines pulled out from Maguindanao’s Upi, South Upi and Datu Blah Sinsuat towns for deployment in Sulu.

Marine units in Maguindanao, a component province of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and in the coasts of Sultan Kudarat in Region 12 are under the tactical control of 6th ID. — The STAR/John Unson in Maguindanao

3 days ago

The Army collected 27 more unlicensed firearms from residents in Maguindanao province, where firepower is a status symbol among clans.

Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division said Sunday the firearms were surrendered by villagers in Datu Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao to the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion.

Units of 6th ID have collected more than a thousand unlicensed firearms from residents of Maguindanao’s 36 towns in a continuing campaign that began two years ago.

The arms cache from Datu Abdullah Sangki, comprised of assault rifles, grenade launchers, shotguns, machine pistols and a 60 millimeter mortar, were turned over by owners to Lt. Col. Alvin Iyog and Col. Efren Baluyot. ?— The STAR/John Unson in Maguindanao

June 12, 2019

Ordnance experts foiled Tuesday what could have been another deadly roadside bombing in this province, provincial police say.

The improvised explosive device found along a stretch of the Cotabato-Isulan Highway in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao was promptly deactivated by police and Army bomb experts.

Col. Ronald Briones, Maguindanao’s provincial police director, says Wednesday they are certain the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters is behind the foiled bombing attempt.

Passersby noticed the IED protruding from one side of the highway not too distant from the old provincial capitol in Shariff Aguak.

A number of soldiers and police officers have been killed in roadside bombings perpetrated by the BIFF in the past five years in Shariff Aguak and nearby towns in the second district of Maguindanao.

The group, led by radical clerics, uses the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as its banner. — The STAR/John Unson in Maguindanao

June 11, 2019

Officials have been trying since Monday to disengage a group of Moro guerillas and banana plantation security guards locked in a showdown after a deadly encounter Sunday.

Two members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Ilah Mohammad and Toy Taha, and a watchman in the Delinanas Cavendish banana farm were killed in a spate of clashes in Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao reportedly triggered by labor disputes between two groups of workers.

The feuding groups, one led by a Commander Tommy of the MILF and the other by Aldrex Cali, clashed on Sunday in Barangay Tukanalugong in Datu Abdullah Sangki, forcing villagers to relocate to safer areas.

Senior officials of the Maguindanao provincial police office in nearby Shariff Aguak town said Tuesday a company guard named Tanto Abdul was wounded in the ensuing gunfights.

Top leaders of the MILF and Army officials are now trying to resolve the conflict that police investigators said was partly triggered by political differences between the two groups during the recent election period. — The STAR/John Unson in Maguindanao

June 9, 2019

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is reducing the number of its troop in Basilan, saying the situation there has normalized and the threat from the Abu Sayyaf Group has been addressed. 

Brig. Gen. Fernando Reyeg, commander of Joint Task Force Basilan and the 104th Infantry Brigade, said the AFP leadership and the Western Mindanao Command has seen that the security situation in Basilan has improved.

"Actually, they could have taken other units from other places but they have seen the improved situation in Basilan and noticed that we can handle it so we have to give off one infantry battalion so that the whole of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) can focus in Sulu," said Reyeg.

The military has redeployed the 74th Infantry Battalion from Sumisip town to Zamboanga Cit, replacing the 11th IB which was sent back to the 3rd Infantry Division in the Visayas.

Reyeg said the joint task force has realigned and adjusted its forces to meet the province's security needs even with the 74th IB's departure. He assured the communities here that the remaining troops can secure the province, where the Abu Sayyaf group was formed in 1990.

The military confirmed that there are still a few Abu Sayyaf in hiding and on the run in the mountains of Sampinit. — The STAR/Roel Pareño in Basilan

June 9, 2019

The provincial government of Basilan and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have launched a P36-million hospital project for the medical needs of Lamitan City and nearby towns.

Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman led the symbolic launching of the project, which is a joint project of the governor's office and the health ministry of BARMM.

Lamitan City Vice Mayor Roderick Furigay says Sunday he is thankful to Salliman and the BARMM government for embarking on the construction of the hospital.

Lamitan City is the capital of Basilan, a component province of BARMM. — The STAR/John Unson in Lamitan City, Basilan

June 4, 2019

Middle Eastern states are celebrating Eid’l Fitr on Tuesday but the feast will be celebrated on June 5 in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the rest of the Philippines.

Clerics in many parts of Asia failed to see the crescent month Monday in separate moon-sighting rites and the Darul Iftah, or House of Opinions, in the BARMM declared on Monday evening that June 5 as the day for Eid’l Fitr celebration.

Darul Iftah’s grand mufti (preacher) Abu Huraira Udasan announced on Monday night via radio stations in central Mindanao that Muslims in BARMM ought to celebrate Eid’l Fitr on Wednesday, June 5, which President Rodrigo Duterte earlier declared as non-working holiday.

The Darul Iftah is comprised of senior Islamic theologians from across the Bangsamoro region, among them graduates of Islamic universities in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Saudi Arabian Royal Supreme Court was reported to have declared June 4 as the culmination of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, focus on good deeds and prayers for one lunar cycle, which lasts from 28 to 29 days.

Muslims celebrate the Eid’l Fitr in the first day of Shawal in the Hijrah lunar-based calendar. The day marks the completion of Ramadan, a holy month in Islam.

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the “five pillars” of the Islamic faith, which include belief in Allah, praying five times a day facing west, giving of alms to the poor, and, for those who can afford the cost of travel, performing the hajj (pilgrimage) to Makkah in Saudi Arabia even just once in a lifetime.

Sick people, the elderly, pregnant and lactating mothers are exempted from the obligatory Ramadan fast. — The STAR/John Unson in Cotabato City
 

June 3, 2019

The military Western Mindanao Command is expecting more gains in the fight against the Abu Sayyaf group with the arrival of 2,000 soldiers more soldiers in Sulu. 

Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command chief, says the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the Philippine Army arrived Sunday and is on the way to Sulu to help the 11th Army Division in running after the bandits and secure the province.

The 1BCT is led by Brig. Gen. Leopoldo Imbang Jr. and has 1,500 to 2,000 troops. 

Dela Vega says the 1BCT was deployed to conduct focused military operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group as part of Joint Task Force Sulu. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 2, 2019

Soldiers on Sunday foil an attempt to smuggle lumber from trees in a watershed area in Barira town in Maguindanao.

Personnel of the Army’s 37th Infantry Battalion, led by 1st Lt. Ric Pitallano, intercepted the forest products while being hauled on two hauler trucks in Barangay Lamin, Barira en route to Parang, Maguindanao.

Major Arvin Encinas, public affairs officer of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, says the drivers of the two trucks carrying almost 2,000 board feet of lumber managed to pull over and escape when they noticed the soldiers blocking their route.

Encinas says an initial report reaching Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, division commander, stated that three men escorting the two trucks, Rudta Fanares, Marju Elias and Bacve Morog, were detained and turned over to the local police. — The STAR/John Unson

May 30, 2019

Four people were killed in separate ambush incidents Wednesday in the neighboring Parang and Sultan Kudarat towns in Maguindanao, police say Thursday.

The fatalities were identified as Dayaba Kari, 67, and his 30-year-old driver, Danny Apostol.

Kari and his still unidentified companion were together in a white Toyota Wigo bearing license plates ADP 3187 that gunmen from another vehicle trailing behind shot with assault rifles.

Both victims died on the spot from multiple gunshot wounds.

The incident was preceded by the ambush two hours earlier of two ethnic Iranun farmers by gunmen on motorcycles in Barangay Macasandag in Parang town.

Omar Pandi, 30, and the 40-year-old Esmael Mantar were on a truck carrying their farm products en route to Parang’s town market when the motorcycle-riding gunmen shot them with M16 rifles, wounding both of them seriously. 

They died in a hospital where they were rushed by responding personnel of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. — The STAR/John Unson

May 30, 2019

Clashes between the military and the Abu Sayyaf since Saturday have left seven bandits dead and more than a dozen others wounded in the outskirts of Patikul, Sulu, security officials say.

The military said the latest encounters occurred Tuesday when troops from the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion clashed with 15 members from the group of Mundi Sawadjaan in the mountains of Barangay Buhanginan.

The fierce firefight ended briefly as the bandits scampered to escape, according to Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS).

However, the retreat of the Abu Sayyaf faction led the 14th Scout Ranger Company (SRC) to another encounter 25 minutes later with about 40 militants which belonged the same fleeing group under Sawadjaan in the same village. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 28, 2019

The new director of the Bangsamoro police assumes office Tuesday, just after the region's capital was placed in the hands of a decorated female officer, central Mindanao's first ever.

Col. Portia Bañaga-Manalad, who graduated from the Philippine National Police Academy in 1995, now heads the Cotabato City police, which is in charge of securing the city's 37 barangays.

She took over the city's police directorship on Monday from Col. Michael Lebanan, also a graduate of the PNPA.

Cotabato City became capital of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or BARMM, following the ratification of its regional charter in a plebiscite earlier this year.

Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi assured Manalad of her administration's support in a message during a turnover ceremony Monday afternoon at the city police office.

"This is women power," Guiani-Sayadi told reporters then, referring to the partnership of the inter-agency city peace and order council, which she leade, and the new city police director.

— The STAR/John Unson

May 27, 2019

The military supports the plan of Church leaders and elected officials in Basilan to organize a joint advisory council to help the government address domestic security woes.

Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega of the Western Mindanao Command says he was elated with the meeting last week of top Catholic missionaries in Basilan and two Muslim officials, Mujiv Hataman and spouse Sitti Djalia, incoming congressman and newcomer mayor of Isabela City, respectively, where they talked about key governance issues.

The Hatamans first paid a courtesy visit on Isabela Bishop Leo Dalmao, Monsigñor Roel Casas and other church leaders at the bishop’s residence in Isabela City then, an engagement that gave both sides chance to discuss concerns besetting the local Muslim and Christian communities.

“I learned that they are planning to organize an interreligious advisory council to propagate peace among Muslims and Christians. That is good, a common initiative of the Catholic community and Muslim leaders in Isabela City and in Basilan province,” Dela Vega says. — The STAR/John Unson

May 26, 2019

Two men who were applying to join the Army were killed in an ambush in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on Saturday, authorities say.

Celso Kusain, 25, and 23-year-old Anthony Jumadiao died on the spot from gunshot wounds in different parts of their bodies.

They were riding a motorcycle together en route to their hometown, Parang, from Cotabato City when they were attacked while passing through Barangay Rebuken in Sultan Kudarat, authorities say.

They were both applicants for enlistment into the Philippine Army through the 6th Infantry Division based in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, according to relatives.

Officials of Army and police intelligence units in the province say they are certain the killers belong to the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters but did not immediately offer evidence for the assertion. — The STAR/John Unson

May 17, 2019

Government troops recovered heavy munitions, explosives, and firearms in an operation to pacify warring political clans in a town of Maguindanao, a military official says Friday.

Col. Gerry Besana, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command, says troops from the 90th Infantry Battalion and 61st Division Reconnaissance Company launched the operation to contain tension in Talitay town between the private armed groups of two candidates for vice mayor. 

Besana says hundreds of residents were forced to evacuate, which paved the way for troops, local officials and stakeholders to pacifying the warring armed followers of the two political clans.

Besana says the troops recovered at least 16 firearms. They also recovered a 60-mm mortar tube, 15 pieces anti-personnel mines contained in plastic drums, 12 pieces PVC anti-personnel mines, 11 rounds of RPG munition, four grenades, and a radio transceiver. -- The STAR/Roel Pareño 

May 6, 2019

Edu Manzano, who is running to represent San Juan City in the House of Representatives has been disqualified as a candidate, ONE News reports

 

May 6, 2019

Edu Manzano, who is running to represent San Juan City in the House of Representatives has been disqualified as a candidate, ONE News reports

 

May 5, 2019

Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez accompanied bankers and business leaders to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's Camp Bilal in Lanao del Norte to discuss economic opportunities for the camp's residents, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process says in a release.

"In a two-day visit, Galvez accompanied Emmanuel Herbosa, president of the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines, and businessman John Perrine, who has been a long-time agri-business investor in Mindanao, and Reynaldo Antonio Laguda, executive director of Philippine Business for Social Progress to meet Hadji Abdullah Makapaar [Commander Bravo], now a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, to explore the possibility of establishing an abaca plantation," OPAPP says.

"We are bringing in a banker, an investor, and developmental NGO to help develop these communities into productive agricultural areas. This is part of our measures to fast-track the implementation of camp transformation, which is under the normalization track of the peace agreement," Galvez says in the release.

Normalization includes the decommissioning of MILF combatants and weapons but also involves the transformation of the MILF camps into "peaceful and resilient communities," OPAPP says.

March 29, 2019

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority, the interim government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, is holding its first session.

President Rodrigo Duterte will lead the inauguration of the BARMM on Friday afternoon.
 

March 27, 2019

Sen. Grace Poe is the first senator to visit the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao after going to Cotabato City.

Poe went to Cotabato City, the administrative center of the new region, after speaking at Southern Christian College in Midsayap, North Cotabato on Wednesday.

"It's really a privilege and a very important time in our history…Mahalaga ito [Bangsamoro Organic Law] para sa ating mga kababayan kasi finally, ang tinatamasa nating suporta para magkaroon ng sarili ring pamamalakad ang ating mga kababayan dito, ay matutuloy na," Poe, a re-electionist, says in a statement.

"Bilang kasapi ng national government, gusto nating masiguro na ang suporta na ‘yan ay tuluy-tuloy. I just came here para i-congratulate si Chief Minister Murad sa kanyang panunungkulan."

March 8, 2019

Finance and economics experts have expressed their strong support and commitment to help the transition of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the new region that replaces the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,  

"We look forward on working closely with the Bangsamoro Transition Authority in the next few months as we firm up [Foundation for Economic Forum] and Philippine Center on Islam and Democracy's (PCID) Program of Support throughout the three-year transition period,” the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process quotes FEF Fellow and former Finance Secretary Gary Teves as sayong.

Both organizations have assembled a Core Team and met with government agencies and development partners to solicit inputs for the plan, 

February 26, 2019

The ceremonial turnover of power from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, which will be the tranisiton government of the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao happens this morning.

MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim will be chief minister of the new regional government and head of the 80-member BTA.

February 18, 2019

The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have prepared socio-economic packages for combatants who will be decommissioned following the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law last month, a senior deputy peace adviser says.

Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser Nabil Tan says ratification will lead to the implementation of the normalization track of the GPH-MILF peace agreement, where 30 percent of all MILF combatants and firearms will be decommissioned.

Tan says the first batch of MILF fighters will turnover an estimated 9,000 to 12,000 firearms as part of the decommissioning process that will be overseen by a Turkey-led International Decommissioning Body.

February 15, 2019

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process welcomes the inclusion of 63 barangays of North Cotabato in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, calling it "another milestone in the Mindanao peace process."

In a statement, peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. says the February 6 plebiscite is an example for elections that should be emulated across the country. "The entire community of the province showed us how to assert our rights peacefully."

He adds: "North Cotabato is a highly diverse province and yet they showed us how people in a multicultural community can coexist harmoniously and act in unity."

February 11, 2019

Any lists of supposed members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority are unofficial and fake, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process says.

"To date, OPAPP has transmitted the list of nominees to the Office of the President for review," the office says, adding only President Rodrigo Duterte, who will appoint the members of the BTA, can release an official list.

"OPAPP advises the public to be prudent and judicious about what they see and share on social media."

February 7, 2019

The Plebiscite Provincial Board of Canvassers is Lanao del Norte is gathering Certificates of Canvass for the plebiscite held on Wednesday.

February 6, 2019

Residents of some villages in the provinces of Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato participate in a plebiscite for inclusion in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Wednesday, February 6.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Cotabato City had voted to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law in a plebiscite last month.

There were reports of explosions in Lala and Kauswagan in Lanao del Norte on Tuesday afternoon, but authorities could not say whether these were related to the scheduled plebiscite.

January 30, 2019

Thousands of athletes from four provinces are in Basilan for an athletic meet never held anywhere around when the Abu Sayyaf was yet the worst threat to local security.

The January 28 to February 2 Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regional athletic meet in Sumisip, Basilan would be the last since ARMM shall soon be replaced with a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or BARMM.

It is ARMM's first in Basilan since the region's creation via a plebiscite in 1990 that resulted in the ratification of its first charter, the Republic Act 6734 that got amended and became RA 9054 via another plebiscite in 2001.

The contiguous venues of different events involving no fewer than 4,000 athletes from Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Tawi Tawi, and from this province were former bastions of the Abu Sayyaf. -- The STAR/John Unson in Basilan

January 24, 2019

The National Plebiscite Board of Canvassers has started canvassing the results of the January 21 Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite.

Although canvassing is ongoing, Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi has said she will contest the results. Citing reports of intimidation and other alleged election irregularities, she said she wants another round of voting on February 6, when another plebiscite will be held in parts of Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato provinces.

January 23, 2019

Cotabato City, which voted in two previous plebiscites against joining the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, has voted to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law that will make it part of the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

According to a report on News5, the Cotabato City Board of Canvassers proclaimed Tuesday night that 59 percent of voters in 374 clustered precincts in the city voted in favor of the BOL. The "Yes" votes won with 36,682 against 24,994 who voted "No".

Canvassing ended around 9 p.m. on Tuesday and the City Board of Canvassers is set to forward the statement of votes and certificate of canvass to the National Board of Canvassers in Manila, News5 reports.

According to the report, "No" votes had an initial lead during the start of canvassing but that lead began to shrink after noon on Tuesday. The "Yes" votes eventually took the lead at around 2 p.m. as canvassing continued.

January 22, 2019

The Commission on Elections en banc briefly convenes to canvass the ballots for the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite.

Canvassing is immediately adjourned, though, since no ballots have been received as of 11:30 a.m. They will resume canvassing at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

January 22, 2019

Moro activist group Suara Bangsamoro says reports of intimidation and tension during the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law "testifies to how the democratic participation of the people in the voting process is hampered by violence, intervention of local politicians and intimidation by the military."

The group says ratification of the BOL will not necessarily translate to lasting peace in the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and that the law falls short of resolving "the clamor of the Moro people for the right to self-determination, control over Moro land and resources and exacting justice for the historical and on-going injustices against the Moro."

January 21, 2019

The Commission on Human Rights office in Region XII is monitoring the situation during voting in the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

"The Right to Political Participation is one of the constitutionally guaranteed rights, as such the Commission is mandated to monitor government's compliance with respect to this right. Today, people from the areas included under the Bangsomoro Organic Law are exercising this right," the commission says.

January 21, 2019

There have been claims of harassment in Cotabato City and in Isabela City in Basilan, areas that are not part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao where voting on the plebiscite is taking place.

Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani Sayadi has said that she is opposed to the city's inclusion in the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, saying the city had been harassed in the past by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The MILF will lead the Bangsamoro Transition Authority that will form the government of the proposed region until elections for its parliament are held.

The last Plebiscite Committee leaves the distribution center in Buluan, Maguindanao for Tamontaka in Cotabato City a little past 6 a.m. on Monday as the first day of the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law starts on Monday, January 21.

Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez said over the weekend that as high as 75 percent of the more than two million voters from Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), as well as the cities of Isabela in Basilan and Cotabato in Maguindanao are expected to go out and cast their votes.

A second plebiscite day is set for February 6 for areas in North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte.

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