The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) lauds the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the military for their role as peacekeepers during the successful conduct of the first plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) conducted on Monday.
“Despite a few isolated incidents, the first BOL plebiscite on Monday was generally peaceful. Kudos to the police and the military for safeguarding our Filipino voters as they exercised their right to suffrage and for guarding the poll centers to ensure the peaceful conduct of the exercise,” says DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
A total of 6,698 police personnel were deployed for the first BOL plebiscite covering the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, Isabela City, and Cotabato City.
The DILG Secretary also had high praises for the 72 police personnel who served as Board of Election Inspectors during the plebiscite after the assigned teachers failed to show up due to security threats.
“I would also like to commend and thank the 72 policemen and women who went beyond the call of duty and took over the posts left by the teachers. If not for the help of these cops, a total of 8,000 voters in around 24 precincts would not have had the chance to vote,” Año says.
A few isolated cases were reported on Monday, which include a skirmish after a flying voter was discovered, and instances where security asked for identification cards for entry into the precincts.
“It was still a relatively peaceful plebiscite with a high voter turnout. The local PNP, however, remains on high alert for the canvassing of votes,” says Año.
The DILG Chief says he expects the PNP to show the same level of alertness during the conduct of the second plebiscite.
“We must not be complacent as there were cases of intimidation against the teachers. I, therefore, direct the PNP to heighten their vigilance and enforce tighter security measures for the conduct of the second BOL plebiscite,” he says.
The second BOL voting for the provinces of Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato will be held on February 6, 2019.
If the majority of the 2.1 million registered voters of the BOL vote in favor of the law during the plebiscite, it will then be ratified, thereby replacing the ARMM with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.