MANILA, Philippines – The plebiscite on Monday, January 21, is a historic vote that several administrations and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have worked towards since the 1970s. (LOOK: Questions, voting instructions for Bangsamoro plebiscite)
If it becomes a reality, residents will see a new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) with more power, resources, and possibly bigger territory. (READ: What you need to know about the Bangsamoro plebiscite)
But what is also at stake is peace in the conflict-ridden region, which had seen war and rebellion over the years that claimed the lives of over 100,000 Filipinos in Mindanao. There is fear that if the BOL is not ratified, there will be new fertile ground for violent extremists group to exploit.
To secure the voting exercise, the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines announced they would deploy some 20,000 soldiers and cops to secure the region.
Below is a map of areas that will take part in the plebiscite:
Voting is scheduled to take place on two dates. The first will be on January 21, in the ARMM, Cotabato City, and Isabela City.
If majority of voters in these areas vote “yes” to the new BARMM, a second voting day will take place on February 6. This time, in Lanao del Norte – except Iligan City – and 7 towns in North Cotabato.
If majority of voters in all areas agree to their inclusion, the new BARMM will be comprised of the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Cotabato City, 6 towns in Lanao del Norte, and 67 barangays in North Cotabato.