No more special registration for Bangsamoro plebiscite: Comelec

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MANILA — There will no longer be a special registration for the plebiscite for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) as provided by the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Thursday.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said they will just beef up the ongoing voter registration for the May 2019 midterm elections.

“The law provides that we must conduct a special registration. But since we already have an existing voter registration, what the Comelec will just do is to intensify our ongoing registration activity,” Jimenez in an interview.

“This is to accommodate people in that area, who want to register and perhaps participate in the plebiscite,” he added.

Jimenez noted the ongoing voter registration in the provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, Cotabato City, and Isabela City, shall be intensified by conducting satellite registration until the end of the registration period on September 29.

“It means that we will make it mandatory for various field offices in the area to conduct satellite registration and for them to double their efforts. We will be sending out special registration teams to precisely make sure that this intensification of registration is carried out,” he added.

Based on the proposed Bangramoro Autonomous Region, being eyed for inclusion are the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi under the ARMM.

Also, the 39 barangays in North Cotabato, six municipalities in Lanao del Norte, and the cities of Cotabato in Maguindanao, and Isabela in Basilan.

The poll body is looking to hold the plebiscite in early January 2019.

Meanwhile, the poll body official said that after the holding of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls in Marawi City on Sept. 22, the registration will immediately commence.

“In Marawi, where there is no ongoing registration, there will be one after the elections. When the ongoing (nationwide) registration ends on Sept. 29 in Marawi, it will continue for about 10 to 15 days. There will be an extension of registration in Marawi,” Jimenez added. –PNA

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