Comelec urged to reconsider ruling on SGA-BARMM polls

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM has appealed to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reconsider its ruling barring some 200,000 registered voters from 63 villages in its Special Geographic Area (SGA) in North Cotabato from exercising their right to vote for local posts in the May 9, 2022 national polls.

“We respectfully disagree with the new resolution of the Commission as it disenfranchises the over 200,000 constituents of the 63 barangays under the SGA in North Cotabato,” said Naguib Sinarimbo, BARMM’s interior minister, in a statement released Wednesday.

“This (Comelec) resolution deprives them of their right to suffrage and equal protection of the law,” Sinarimbo, a lawyer, said.

He said while the 63 barangays from North Cotabato have become part of the BARMM and no longer of Soccsksargen (Region 12), they have not been reconstituted into appropriate local government units (LGUs) pursuant to the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

On Monday, the Comelec released the minutes of Resolution Number 21-0953 dated Sept. 15, 2021, prohibiting SGA residents to vote for local officials except for those running in the national positions.

“Further, it is hereby resolved that if it still cannot be determined where the specific local government units the 63 barangays shall belong until the holding of the 2022 elections, the registered voters of the said barangays may only be allowed to vote for national positions, particularly, for the positions of President, Vice-President, Senator, and Party-List Representatives,” the Comelec order said.

However, Sinarimbo underscored that in the computation of the Internal Revenue Allotment of North Cotabato and respective SGA municipalities, the population, land area, and income of the 63 barangays still form part of North Cotabato and their municipalities, hence constituents are still entitled to be represented and their voices heard.

“So the BARMM will ask the Comelec to reconsider this resolution,” he said.

The Philippine News Agency here tried to reach North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco for comments but failed.

Source: Philippines News Agency

Leave a Reply