Plebiscite for creation of 8 towns in BARMM set April 13

By Edwin Fernandez

February 12, 2024, 3:48 pm

<p><em>The BARMM administration building in Cotabato City.</em></p>

The BARMM administration building in Cotabato City.

COTABATO CITY – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will administer on April 13 the plebiscite for the creation of eight municipalities out of 63 villages in North Cotabato that are now part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“All is set for the plebiscite on April 13 in 63 villages of North Cotabato now called BARMM’s Special Geographic Area (SGA),” BARMM Member of Parliament Kellie Antao told reporters here Monday.

“I believe the yes vote will win,” Antao added.

Lawyer Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba, BARMM local government minister, also expressed confidence the “yes” vote will come out victorious.

Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia told reporters during the Feb. 8 launch of nationwide voter’s education for 2025 national and local elections in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, that the poll body is ready for the plebiscite.

“This (plebiscite) is part of our preparation for the first regional parliamentary elections simultaneous with the national and local elections in May next year,” Garcia said.

Antao said the Comelec is awaiting the PHP80 million for the plebiscite for the law creating eight municipalities out of 63 SGAs.

To date, the SGA villages have over 100,000 registered voters. The new towns shall be named Pahamuddin, Kadayangan, Nabalawag, Tugunan, Ligawasan, Malidegao, Old Kabakan, and Kapalawan.

As stated in the regional law that created the towns, the BARMM government will appropriate and provide financial assistance for the administrative and operational requirements of the municipalities.

This financial provision will continue until the new municipality receives its share of the national tax allocation.

Once the law is ratified, Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim shall appoint officers-in-charge and other officials of the eight new towns. (PNA)