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DILG chief seeks new round of voters' registration in ARMM

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to conduct a new round of voters’ registration in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in preparation for elections in the area next year. Robredo wrote a letter to Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes last week to formalize the request, saying the new round of voters’ registration in the ARMM will help institute reforms in the area. “The need for a new round of registration is brought by the desire of the President to rid the area of vestiges and illegal operations institutionalized by the former administration that resulted to massive fraud and large-scale disenfranchisement of many bona fide and legitimate voters,” Robredo said in a statement Sunday. The DILG chief also asked Comelec to review the assignment of election officers in the ARMM, especially those allegedly involved in past election malpractices. “We will find it difficult to generate success if the same unscrupulous election officers will be allowed to remain in their posts,” Robredo said. He also requested the poll body to institutionalize a mechanism through which people can file election-related cases in the region. The ARMM polls, which was originally scheduled for August last year, was deferred to May 2013 after President Benigno Aquino III signed Republic Act 10153, or the law formalizing the postponement of the elections in the region. In December last year, Aquino appointed former Anak Mindanao party-list Rep. Mujiv Hataman as officer-in-charge governor of the ARMM. The ARMM, formed in 1989 by virtue of Republic Act 6734 or the Organic Act, is composed of the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu. — Andreo C. Calonzo/KBK, GMA News