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Palace asks Comelec to prepare for Bangsamoro plebiscite

Malacañang on Monday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to start preparing for the conduct of the plebiscite that will determine the scope of the Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
"[The] Comelec should also be anticipating that. [It] is an independent commission, [but] we hope that the Comelec is already also preparing for the plebiscite," presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during a press conference.

Lacierda said the Bangsamoro Transition Commission is currently drafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which will create the Bangsamoro political entity based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed last month.

"That is now working and hopefully we will receive the draft. The timeline is really to submit it as early as possible," he said, adding they wish to accomplish this by May.

The measure will then submitted to Congress and the President for approval.

After this, a plebiscite will be conducted in the envisioned core territory of the Bangsamoro.

According to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, this includes the current ARMM provinces and Marawi City; the cities of Cotabato and Isabela; the six municipalities in Lanao del Norte that voted for inclusion in the ARMM in the 2001 plebiscite (Baloi, Munai, Pantar, Nunungan, Tagaloan, Tangkal); and the 39 barangays in six municipalities of Cotabato province that likewise voted for inclusion in 2001 (Labacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawaya, Pikit and Midsayap).

But it said all other "contiguous areas" where there is a resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least 10 percent of the qualified voters in the area may also ask for their inclusion in the plebiscite, at least two months prior to its conduct. — Kimberly Jane Tan/RSJ, GMA News