By Ferdinand Patinio, PNA


MANILA -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday said it received a total of 62 petitions to join the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on January 21, 2019.


In an interview, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said 56 petitions for voluntary inclusions were submitted by local government units, majority of which are barangays, while the six other petitions were filed by registered voters.


Jimenez said they have yet to act on the petitions.


“That is the reason why we still haven't started printing. The people have been asking if we started printing the ballots. (The answer is) not yet, because we have pending petitions,” Jimenez explained.


“These petitions came in at the very last minute. And in order to ensure we get the most representation into the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite as possible. The decision was made to allow the petitions to continue,” he added.


On the other hand, the poll key official said they are likely to start the printing of the ballots next month.


Wala pa tayong date (We do not have a date yet). But most likely, it would be in December. The ballot printing will involve a very small number of ballots, so we don't expect it to take long. Also, it is a manual ballot so madali lang iyon (it will be easy),” he added.


Republic Act 11054 states that areas contiguous to the territorial jurisdiction of the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) may submit a petition for voluntary inclusion.


The territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region is comprised of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (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.