Comelec sets plebiscite for Maguindanao

Robertzon Ramirez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Residents of Maguindanao will get a chance to vote in a plebiscite on Sept. 17 to decide whether to split their province into two, or retain it as one. In a five-page resolution, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) set the guidelines for the voting to ratify Republic Act 11550, which President Duterte signed in May last year.

The law divides the province into Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur.

Although the poll body was given only 90 days to hold a plebiscite, it decided to postpone the vote until after this year’s general elections to allow ample time for preparations.

Given this, the Comelec banned the appointment or hiring of new employees, creation of new positions, promotion or giving of salary increases, remuneration or privileges until Sept. 16, or a day before the scheduled plebiscite.

It also gave the local Comelec office until Aug. 18 to post the computerized voters’ lists and constitute the members of the Municipal Plebiscite Board of Canvassers and their respective support staff.

They are also given until Aug. 25 to inspect polling places and create the Provincial Plebiscite Board of Canvassers.

The information and campaign period will run from Aug. 16 to Sept. 15. A gun ban will also be implemented from Aug. 16 to Sept. 24, the last day of the plebiscite period.

On plebiscite day, casting of votes will be from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The canvassing of votes and proclamation of plebiscite results will be held beginning 6 p.m.

A similar plebiscite was held in Palawan in March 2021, wherein a majority voted not to divide the province into three.

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