DAVAO CITY – From 39 villages in six towns in North Cotabato that voted yes to inclusion in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in 2001, a total of 67 villages in seven towns will vote in the February 6 plebiscite for inclusion in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the new autonomous political entity that will replace the 28-year old ARMM.

The Commission on Elections approved the petition of 28 more villages in seven North Cotabato towns that are contiguous to the present ARMM, to make the number 67 villages in seven towns.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told a press briefing in Manila on Friday that 28 out of 103 petitions for inclusion in the proposed BARMM territory were approved. Those disapproved, he said, were either not contiguous to the ARMM or failed to meet the requirements.

Voters in the proposed territory of the BARMM will troop to the polls on January 21 and February 6 to ratify 11054 or the Organic Law for the BARMM. On January 21, voters in the ARMM’s Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi, and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan, and the cities of Cotabato and Isabela in Basilan, will troop to the polls to vote yes or no.

Voters in the six towns of Lanao del Norte (Balo-i, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan, and Tangkal) and the rest of the 16 other towns in the North Cotabato towns of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pigcawayan, Pikit and Tulunan, will cast their ballots on February 6.

But even if the 67 villages in North Cotabato and the six towns in Lanao del Norte vote for inclusion, they will be part of the BARMM only if their mother units give their consent.

RA 11054 provides under Section 3 of Article XV that any of the municipalities of Balo-i, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan, and Tangkal in the Province of Lanao del Norte that votes favorably for its inclusion in the BARMM shall form part of it “provided that the majority of the votes cast in the Province of Lanao del Norte shall be in favor of the inclusion of the municipality in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.”

In the same section, the law also provides that any of the barangays in the municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigcawayan, Pikit, and Midsayap that would vote favorably for inclusion in the BARMM shall be part of it “provided that the majority of the votes cast in the municipality to which the barangay belongs shall be in favor of the inclusion of the barangay in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.”

From 39 to 67

The 39 villages that voted yes for inclusion in the ARMM in 2001 are 3 in Aleosan (Dunguan, Lower Mingading and Tapodoc); two in Carmen (Manarapan and Nasapian); three in Kabacan (Nanga-an, Simbuhay, and Sanggadong); 12 in Midsayap (Damatulan, Kadigasan, Kadingilan, Kapinpilan, Kudarangan, Central Labas, Malingao, Mudseng, Nabalawag, Olandang, Sambulawan, and Tugal); eight in Pigkawayan (Lower Baguer, Balacayon, Buricain, Datu Binasing, Kadingilan, Matilac, Patot, and Lower Pangangkalan); and 11 in Pikit (Bagoinged, Balatican, S. Balong, S. Balongis, Batulawan, Buliok, Gokotan, Kabasalan, Lagunde, Macabual, and Macasendeg).

The Comelec approved the petitions of 28 villages: one more in Aleosan (Pagangan), plus five in Carmen (Kibayao, Ktulaan, Langogan, Pebpoloan and Tupig); plus four in Kabacan (Buluan, Pedtad, Simone and Tamped); plus one in Midsayap (Tumbras); plus four in Pigkawayan (Datu Mantil, Libungan Torreta, Upper Pangangkalan and Simsiman); plus 12 in Pikit (Barungis, Bualan, Bulol, Fort Pikit, Gli-gli, Manaulanan, Nabundas, Nalapaan, Nunguan, Pamalian, Panicupan and Rajahmuda); and the 28th is Galidan in Tulunan town.

Overall, the villages that are proposed to be part of the BARMM territory are four out of 19 barangays in Aleosan; seven of 28 in Carmen; seven of 24 in Kabacan; 13 of 57 in Midsayap; 12 of 40 in Pigkawayan; 23 of 42 in Pikit; and one in Tulunan. 

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