MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday declared the second plebiscite on the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato generally peaceful.
This despite reported explosions on Tuesday at the Mindanao State University Municipal High School in Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Kauswagan Multi-Purpose Gym in Barangay Poblacion and in Barangay Maranding in Lala town, all in Lanao Del Norte.
“Three separate explosions on the eve of plebiscite day did not discourage voters from trooping to polling centers for the second plebiscite to ratify the historic Bangsamoro Organic Law as 7,312 troops manned their posts to assume poll duty in Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato,” PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. BernandBanac said in a message sent to reporters.
He said although there were no reported casualties in the three explosions, police and military forces quickly responded to the emergencies and beefed-up security in other areas in the province.
Meanwhile, in Iligan City, which is not included in the proposed Bangsamoro territory, two police personnel were arrested at a PNP checkpoint along C3 Road, Tomas Cabili, Iligan City for carrying firearms without proper Comelec gun ban exemption and clearance to provide VIP security.
PO1 JohaimenTomondog Mohamad and PO1 RasidArumpacLambay, both members of Pantar municipal police, yielded an M-16 rifle, an MP5 mini rifle, a PNP-issued Glock pistol, and a .45-caliber pistol.
In North Cotabato, where a similar plebiscite is being held in 210 barangays in the towns of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midasayap, Pigcawayan and Pikit, voting started on schedule as early as 7 a.m. in 2,054 polling precincts with 286,867 registered voters.
In Aleosan, police arrested 32-year-old farmer Mokamad Swan Kutok at the vicinity of polling precincts 26 A&B at SitioBakyawan, Barangay Dunguan for illegal possession of a homemade .38-caliber revolver with five live ammunitions inside his sling bag.
Banac said 7,312-strong police and military contingent is providing security for the second BOL plebiscite in Lanao del Norte and Cotabato.
The BOL, the enabling law for the expansion of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, has been ratified in the region’s core territory.
The plebiscites would determine the final composition of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (PNA)