Maguindanao

Comelec starts gun ban in Maguindanao ahead of plebiscite

Rommel Rebollido
Comelec starts gun ban in Maguindanao ahead of plebiscite

GUN BAN. Authorities check a vehicle on a highway in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao.

PNP-Datu Odin Sinsuat

The prohibition will last until September 24, a week after Maguindanao's voters decide whether to ratify or reject a law that splits the province into two

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) implemented a gun ban throughout Maguindanao on Tuesday, August 16, ahead of a plebiscite next month that would determine if Maguindanao would be split into two provinces.

Authorities started setting up more checkpoints to implement the provincewide gun ban based on Comelec Resolution No. 10830 which was approved on August 3.

Unless authorized by the Comelec, no one is allowed to bring a gun outside his house or place of business in Maguindanao, a province where gun violence escalated in the days after the May elections.

The resolution ordered police and military to set up the checkpoints and carry out inspections, said lawyer Udtog Tago, the Maguindanao elections supervisor.

The prohibition will last until September 24, a week after Maguindanao’s voters decide whether to ratify or reject a law that creates the provinces of Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur.

The plebiscite has been set for September 17.

Cyrus Torreña, Maguindanao’s provincial administrator, told an inter-agency meeting on Monday, August 15, that there was a need to convince Maguindanao’s voters to go out and decide the fate of the province during the plebiscite day.

The voters only need to vote yes or no.

Republic Act 11550, signed by then-president Rodrigo Duterte, divides Maguindanao into two provinces upon the approval via a plebiscite by the majority in its 36 towns.

The plebiscite was supposed to have been held last year but was postponed because the Comelec prioritized preparations for the May elections.

If ratified, Maguindanao del Norte will be composed of the following towns:

  • Barira
  • Buldon
  • Datu Blah Sinsuat
  • Datu Odin Sinsuat
  • Kabuntalan
  • Matanog
  • Northern Kabuntalan
  • Parang
  • North Upi
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Sultan Mastura
  • Talitay

Based on the law, Maguindanao’s capital will be Datu Odin Sinsuat town.

Maguindanao del Sur will cover the following towns:

  • Buluan as the capital
  • Ampatuan
  • Datu Abdulla Sangki
  • Datu Anggal Midtimbang
  • Datu Hoffer Ampatuan
  • Datu Montawal
  • Datu Paglas
  • Datu Piang
  • Datu Salibo
  • Datu Saudi Ampatuan
  • Datu Unsay
  • General Salipada K. Pendatun
  • Guindulungan
  • Mamasapano
  • Mangudadatu
  • Pagalungan
  • Paglat
  • Pandag
  • Rajah Buayan
  • Sharif Aguak
  • Sharif Saydona Mustafa
  • Sultan sa Barongis
  • Talayan
  • South Upi

If ratified, Maguindanao Governor Mariam Mangudadatu would become the first governor of Maguindanao del Sur while Vice Governor Ainee Sinsuat would lead Maguindanao del Norte. – Rappler.com

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