A PLEBISCITE for the division of Maguindanao into two provinces is set on Sept. 17, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced on Thursday.
The Comelec full court decided on the schedule during their regular session on Wednesday, acting Comelec spokesperson John Rex C. Laudiangco told reporters in a Viber message.
In May last year, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed into law a measure dividing Maguindanao, a province in southern Philippines under the Bangsamoro region, into Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur.
The Maguindanao provincial government earlier allocated P120 million for the plebiscite, wherein residents will decide whether or not to approve the split.
A similar plebiscite was held in Palawan in March 2021, wherein majority voted not to divide the province into three.
Last year, the election body had postponed several plebiscites that were supposed to be conducted before the May 9 national and local elections, citing time constraints for the preparations.
The Supreme Court, in a 2019 decision, upheld the Comelec’s power to “defer the conduct of all plebiscite so as to enable it to focus all its attention and concentrate all its manpower and other resources on this preparation for the said elections,” according to a Comelec resolution dated Aug. 18, 2021.
Meanwhile, Mr. Laudiangco also announced the approval of the resumption of the voter’s registration period from July 4 to 23 ahead of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in December. — John Victor D. Ordoñez