Bangsamoro plebiscite 'peaceful,' say military, police
MANILA, Philippines – Following explosions the day before, authorities declared the second leg of the historic Bangsamoro plebiscite as “generally peaceful” from opening to closing of the voting precincts on Wednesday, February 6.
"[It was] generally peaceful. Those who had to vote voted. The turnout is quite high. Intimidation [tactics] had minimal effect on the voters," Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs chief Colonel Noel Detoyato said in a phone interview with reporters.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) highlighted the turnout in a statement, saying, “As of 3:00 PM today, 4,749 polling precincts opened to serve 352,494 registered voters in 462 barangays in 22 municipalities of Lanao del Norte despite reported explosions yesterday."
Some 7,312 cops and soldiers were deployed to secure the areas that voted on whether they would be part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region: Lanao del Norte (except Iligan City), and 7 towns in North Cotabato.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde and other police officials went around Lanao del Norte and inspected police deployment.
The plebiscite on Wednesday came after the bigger January 21 vote, where the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Cotabato City ratified the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
The police also announced the arrest of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) member named Mokamad Swan Kutok in Aleosan town for carrying a homemade pistol and bullets as he was entering a polling precinct.
He surrendered to the police, who said Kutok brought his gun only for self-defense.
Aside from this, the police and military said there were no “untoward incidents” related to the plebiscite.