Comelec urges Maguindanao residents to vote with plebiscite preparations underway

Comelec urges Maguindanao residents to vote with plebiscite preparations underway
The proposed Maguindanao North province will have Sultan Kudarat town as its capital.
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MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections has designated September 17 of this year for the holding of the Maguindanao plebiscite to determine whether or not the province will be divided into two. 

At the Maguindanao Plebiscite Coordinating Conference in Cotabato City earlier this week, Comelec chair George Garcia urged residents of Maguindanao to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming plebiscite. Residents are voting to ratify Republic Act 11550, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed in May last year, dividing the province into Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur.

The commission is also set to print 818,790 ballots for the plebiscite.

"We're calling on Maguindanaoans to go out and vote. This is for your future, not just one person. It's for your future... I believe that because of the love of Maguindanaoans in their province, because these are your aspirations, whether you really want to divide, or if you really don't want it, the important thing is always to be able to vote."

"It is not enough for Yes to win or for No to win enough. We should make sure that the people can vote... We will remember, always, sovereignty resides on the people."

Garcia also appealed to the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to ensure the security of poll workers and remain vigilant against election-related violence and other violations. 

A gun ban has since been implemented in the province as part of the government's security preparations ahead of the plebiscite.

"Sometimes, the electoral exercises that we know will be quiet are the ones that suddenly doesn't go well. So, let's not ignore that it's just a plebiscite... That's why I'm asking all of you, how can we came together in 2022 May [elections], that would be our coming together, our coordination for this in the upcoming plebiscite," Garcia said. 

"That is my request, especially to the PNP and the ace AFP that I hope our election officers, election assistants and all election workers will be protected... I hope no lives will be lost or hurt because of this plebiscite."

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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