Batanes to Tawi-Tawi
with Julmunir I. Jannaral
Yes that will be the case of some 200 thousand voters from the 63 Special Geographic Areas (SGA) who will not be allowed to vote in the coming May 9, 2022 local elections based on the Minute Resolution Number 21-0953 on January 3, 2022 passed by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
SGA refers to the barangays where mostly Muslim residents are concentrated and opted to join the referendum of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) last year. Their mother Local Government Units (LGUs) still belong to North Cotabato Province.
Minister Naguib G. Sinarimbo of Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG) said that the subject resolution “deprives over 200,000 SGA constituents of their right of suffrage and of equal protection of the law.”
Well this is true since these electorates are really bound to be disenfranchised if the COMELEC will not listen to the clamor of the BARMM officials.
With this scenario a Muslim Senatorial candidate Princess Lady Anne Sahidulla said she joins the sentiments of BARMM officials as represented by Local Government Minister Sinarimbo, the incumbent Bangsamoro spokesman.
According to the Princess from Sulu, Lady Anne, that the poll body is punishing the 200 thousands electorates from the SGA. “This is not a Joke COMELEC if you don’t want trouble in the future,” said the Princess who once negotiated personally for the release of the foreigners who were hostages of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the hinterland of Sulu.
She said the COMELEC en banc should convene immediately to resolve this problem while the national and local elections are more than four months away.
Sinarimbo as the BARMM spokesperson added that while the 63 barangays from North Cotabato have become part of the Regional Autonomous Government and no longer part of Region XII, they have not been reconstituted into appropriate Local Government Units (LGUs) pursuant to the Organic Law.
He underscored that in the computation of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) 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 be heard.
Based on the recent COMELEC resolution, constituents of SGA may only be allowed to vote for the national positions pending the determination of the constituent’s local government units until the holding of the 2022 elections.
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