Palace to anti-BOL: Cotabato City voters have spoken
Malacanang urged on Wednesday those opposing the inclusion of Cotabato City in the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to respect the result of the plebiscite.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace welcomes the decision of the majority of the voters in Cotabato City to be included in the BARMM.
"Consistent with the position of the President (Rodrigo Duterte) for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), we are pleased that the 'yes vote' has prevailed in Cotabato City, based on the complete but unofficial tally of the Commission on Elections (Comelec)," he said.
"The sovereign people have spoken, those who are against the BOL must yield to the rule of the majority," Panelo stressed.
Cotabato City Mayor Frances Cynthia Sayadi had campaigned strongly for the non-inclusion of the city in the BARMM.
During the past two plebiscites in ARMM, Cotabato City consistently voted against its inclusion in the region.
Panelo urged all the "major players, pro and con," to now come together and work together for the "success of the common aspiration of the Bangsamoro people, which is to have a progressive and peaceful Mindanao."
He acknowledged that just like in other elections and plebiscites, there would be claims of irregularity, fraud, and intimidation.
"If they do not affect the credibility of the elections and alter the result thereof, while those responsible for the undemocratic methods will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, the result of the plebiscite must be upheld despite discordant voices," he said.
Meanwhile, Duterte has issued Proclamation No. 656, declaring February 6 as a special non-working day in Lanao del Norte (except Iligan City) and the municipalities of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pikit, Pigkawayan and Tulunan, all in North Cotabato, for the ratification of the BOL.
Duterte issued the declaration so that the voters in the said areas could be given the opportunity to fully participate in the plebiscite and exercise the right to vote.
The plebiscite for the ratification of BOL in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Cotabato City, and Isabela City was held on January 21.
The Comelec has yet to complete the official tally of the votes in those areas. Celerina Monte/DMS