Maguindanao split into two

Following the plebiscite conducted by the Commission on Elections, a single Maguindanao entity will be no more after nearly all participating voters in the province favored the split of the Southern Philippine province into two.

According to Comelec spokesperson Rex Laudianco, a total of 706,558 voters or 99.27 percent of the participants answered “yes” to the question “Do you agree to divide the province of Maguindanao into two separate provinces to be known as Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur, in accordance with Republic Act No. 11550?”

A total of 5,209 voters or 0.73 percent wrote “no.”

The Comelec official stressed that voter turnout for the plebiscite was 86.93 percent, which is the second highest turnout in a province-wide plebiscite in the Philippines.

“Resoundingly, the creation of the 2 Provinces of Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur had long been hoped for by the Maguindanaoans and their Elected Leaders. This dream has now become a reality with the success of the Plebiscite and the ratification of RA No. 11550,” Laudiangco said.

He added that the voter turnout of the Maguindanao Plebiscite can be attributed to the intensive cooperation between the Comelec Department of Education, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and the local governments.

He also said the poll body’s high trust ratings proved to Maguindanaoans that they can cast their votes safely, and their votes to be counted correctly and canvassed properly.

“The very high trust ratings of Comelec, with its officials being hands-on and on-the-ground in this electoral exercise lead by chairman George Erwin M. Garcia, Commissioner Marlon S. Casquejo and Plebiscite Commissioner-in-Charge Aimee P Ferolino, with the support of the Provincial Government of Maguindanao, proved to the Maguindanaoans that they can safely go out of their homes to vote and have their votes counted correctly and canvassed properly,” Laudiangco said.

The plebiscite’s success marks the end of the long and winding journey of Maguindanao residents to fulfill a dream to divide the province, the 11th largest in the Philippines in terms of land size.

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