By Samuel P. Medenilla, October 24 2018; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Business Mirror

The Commission on Election (Comelec) next week will start finalizing the list of additional areas that will be participating in the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which will be held in January 2019.

Comelec spokesman James B. Jimenez said they will be end the acceptance of applications for the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) next Wednesday.

“The deadline for Comelec to act on the voluntary inclusion is on Oct. 31,” Jimenez said.

He said they already received multiple applications for BARMM.

“After Oct. 31, a committee will come out with the full list of areas, which are contiguous to the proposed areas and which will be participating in the BOL plebiscite,” Jimenez said.

Under the BOL, the plebiscite will be held in  the provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which are Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

It will also include the 39 barangays in North Cotabato, six municipalities in Lanao del Norte, and the cities of Cotabato in Maguindanao, and Isabela in Basilan.

Areas, which are not included in the said list, may also join the plebiscite, by applying at the Comelec.

In preparation for the plebiscite, Comelec held a simulation on Tuesday in its main office in Intramuros, Manila to test the effectiveness of the questions, which will be used in the different ballots to be used in the plebiscite.

“Remember, the plebiscite will have a big coverage. You are not just talking of core Bangsamoro territories, but also potential applicants to its surrounding areas,” Jimenez explained.

He noted the ballot questions for the so-called “non-core areas” will be different than those listed in the BOL.

Comelec expects to complete the plebiscite within 72 hours after Jan. 21, 2019.