MAGUINDANAO has been split into two provinces after residents voted in favor of a law dividing the southern Philippine province, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Sunday.
In a statement, Comelec said 706,558 or 99.27% of the voters agreed with Maguindanao’s division, based on partial results.
Last year, former President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed into law a measure dividing Maguindanao, a province under the Bangsamoro region, into Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur.
The plebiscite had an 86.83% voter turnout.
“People are not afraid to cast their votes,” Comelec Chairman George Erwin M. Garcia said in a Viber message. “They trust the process so much.”
In a separate statement, election watchdog National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) said the plebiscite was generally peaceful and transparent.
The election body had postponed several plebiscites that were supposed to be conducted before the May 9 national and local elections, citing time constraints for the preparations.
Last year, Senator Francis N. Tolentino sponsored a bill to split Maguindanao into two, which he said would improve the delivery of government services to residents. — John Victor D. Ordonez