By Leslie Ann Aquino
In preparation for next year’s plebiscite, the Commission on Elections on Tuesday conducted a simulation exercise of the January 21, 2019 plebiscite to ratify Republic Act 11054 otherwise known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said the purpose of the simulation is to “field test” the procedures that will be used during the exercise.
“Remember, this plebiscite is kind a big in coverage. You are not just talking of core Bangsamoro territories, but also potential applicants to Bangsamoro and surrounding areas,” he said in an interview.
“You have the core which used to be the ARMM and those surrounding it that are existing like Isabela City, Lanao del Norte, with the exception of Iligan,” added Jimenez.
But, he said other areas may still be included as there are pending applications for voluntary inclusion.
That’s why, Jimenez said the simulation was necessary because different areas have to have different questions on the ballot.
During the simulation held at the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila, various plebiscite questions to be used in the Bangsamoro Plebiscite areas as provided in Article VI of Resolution No. 10425, were used.
“In the BOL core areas, it’s simple, do you approve of the BOL, yes or no,” he said.
“The problem is in the surrounding areas, in the noncore areas, the question will be two-fold,” added Jimenez.
To note, the territorial jurisdiction of the BAR is comprised of the ARMM provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao; six municipalities in Lanao del Norte; 39 barangays in North Cotabato; Cotabato City in Maguindanao; and Isabela City in Basilan.