By Ferdinand Patinio, Philippine News Agency


MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday announced it will be accepting petitions for voluntary inclusion in the January 21, 2019 plebiscite to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) before the end of October.


In a statement, the poll body said the petition may be filed by a local government unit (LGU) or any registered voter of a contiguous LGU.


The petitioner LGU is required to submit, in nine legible copies, a Sangguniang Resolution that bears its official seal and is approved by at least a majority of its members.


The petition shall state the specific areas of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) that the petitioning LGU claims to be adjacent to, the reasons for such claim, and that there is no pending boundary dispute involving the petitioning LGU.


The Sangguniang Resolution and the supporting documents shall be personally filed at the Office of the Clerk of the Commission in Intramuros, Manila.


The poll body, meanwhile, said registered voters of LGUs may also file a petition provided that it is supported by at least 10 percent of the registered voters therein, together with the supporting documents, and sign it before the Election Officer or Provincial Election Supervisor concerned.


It shall be in writing and under oath; be prepared in nine legible copies; and contain the names, addresses, gender and signatures or thumbmarks of the petitioners in signature sheets in the form prescribed by Comelec, among other required contents.


Supporting documents shall include the original or certified true copy of a map showing the territorial boundaries of the petitioning LGU and the LGU it is contiguous to; the original CTC or a Certification from the Sangguniang Bayan/Panlungsod of the petitioning LGU that there is no pending boundary dispute involving the petitioning LGU, and; the original or CTC of a Certification from the appropriate Sangguniang Panlalawigan that there is no pending boundary dispute involving the petitioning LGU.


Pursuant to RA 11054, all other areas contiguous to the territorial jurisdiction of the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) may submit a petition for voluntary inclusion.


Subject to the approval of Comelec, the territorial jurisdiction of the BAR may further include “all other contiguous areas where: (a) the local government unit thereof, by way of a resolution, asked for inclusion in the plebiscite; or (b) at least ten percent (10[%]) of the registered voters in the local government unit, by way of a petition, asked for inclusion in the plebiscite” (Section 3(f), Article I of Resolution No. 10425).


A filing fee of PHP10,000 and a legal research fee of PHP100 shall be paid.


The poll body will decide each petition within 15 days from the date of submission but not later than Oct. 31.


The territorial jurisdiction of the BAR is composed 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.