A MONTH before the plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is cramming to inform the people about the new law and the upcoming plebiscite.
In a media conference after signing a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. and Bangsamoro Transition Commission Chairman Ghazali Jaafar on voter education and information campaign for the BOL plebiscite, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said there is much work ahead in properly educating and informing voters about the BOL.
“There is still a need to enhance the information dissemination regarding the BOL Plebiscite,” said Jimenez.
Aside from reaching out to different sectors in the participating areas, the poll official said they also need to ensure that the information that will be shared are accurate and correct.
“We need to provide the correct tools so that the information they will share will be accurate,” said Jimenez.
Nevertheless, he said they welcome the observation that there is high interest among registered voters regarding the plebiscite.
“If you go there, it is all anyone can talk about. That is a good sign because it shows that the people are engaged,” said Jimenez.
Earlier, poll watchdog Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) expressed concerns that the information and education aspect of the Bangsamoro plebiscite is inadequate to allow voters to make an informed choice.
Having uninformed votes, Lente warned, could put the result of the plebiscite to question.
The BOL plebiscite is scheduled for January 21 in the geographical areas comprising the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Armm); as well as Isabela City in Basilan, and Cotabato City; and on February 6 in the province of Lanao del Norte, except Iligan City; the municipalities of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pikit, and Pigkawayan in the province of North Cotabato; and all other areas contiguous to any of the Bangsamoro core areas, where either the local government of such area, by way of a resolution; or at least 10 percent of the registered voters in a local government unit, by way of a petition, asked for inclusion in the plebiscite.
Meanwhile, the Comelec disclosed that they have already completed the printing of the ballots to be used in the plebiscite.
Jimenez said printing was done on December 10, after just three days.
“The printing of ballots has been completed. As of now, the verification of ballots are also over,” he said.
He added that they will be deploying the official ballots in early January.
“The 2.8 million ballots will be sent out by the start of new year,” said Jimenez. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)