Comelec lauds orderly conduct of BOL plebiscite in Lanao del Norte, N. Cotabato
Marje Pelayo • February 6, 2019 • 1898
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) lauded the overall conduct of the second plebiscite on Wednesday (February 6) for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato.
The overall process went smoothly , according to Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jiminez, as voting proceeded ‘unhampered’ despite rains in Lanao del Norte and no untoward incidents were recorded in all other venues of the plebiscite.
There were no reports of plebiscite members withdrawing from their duties and all election paraphernalia were distributed accordingly in every polling precinct.
Jimenez added that voter turnout on the second day of plebiscite surpassed the poll body’s expected number of participants in the referendum.
“At least in some places, we’ve already received reports that the estimate is edging up to 75%,” Jimenez said.
Meanwhile, the police and the military remain on high alert because of alleged sightings of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters near some of the venues of the plebiscite.
The poll body, however, is coordinating with authorities to verify the reports.
“There are some places where there are some persistent rumors of armed men coming into the territories, supposedly or allegedly MILF Fighters,” Jimenez confirmed.
“We are trying to verify these rumors but, in the meantime, the Local Government Unit are on alert and the AFP and PNP are apprised of the situation,” he added.
The poll body also does not discount the bombing incident that happened in three separate areas in Lanao del Norte on Tuesday (February 5) on the eve of the second plebiscite.
“The investigation is still ongoing. We cannot definitively say that it was election related although again having said that the timing sort of makes it irrelevant whether or not it actually was intended to be election-related,” Jimenez explained.
After the official closure of the election process, the convening of certificates of canvass will proceed on Thursday (February 7) at the Palacio del Gobernador in Manila. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
Strong winds and heavy rains destroyed several makeshift tents at two evacuation centers where some of the evacuees in Makilala, North Cotabato are staying following the recent earthquakes that hit Mindanao.
According to a CNEWS report by Raymond Octobre on Tuesday, evacuees endured thunderstorms on Monday afternoon while staying in their temporary shelters in Makilala Central Elementary School.
A cellphone video taken by one of the evacuees showed makeshift tents being destroyed and pulled apart by strong winds and heavy rains coupled with ice pellets.
At the Santos Land evacuation center in Poblacion, Makilala, several tents erected using tarpaulin and bamboo wood were also ripped apart by heavy rains that lasted for almost an hour.
Sheryl Orbita, acting Municipal Administrator of Makilala, assured no one was injured while an individual was brought to a hospital after falling unconscious.
Orbita added that evacuees affected by the heavy rains have been given assistance.
More than 50 families from the Santos Land evacuation center were also transferred to a temporary shelter in Makilala National High School while around 100 other families opted to remain in the area.
“Dinalhan naman din sila ng pagkain doon na luto na tsaka mga damit kasi nabasa yung iba may mga damit doon sa nililipatan nila,” Orbita said.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that as of November 12, there are 20 evacuation centers catering to more than 4,700 families in Makilala.
Overall, there are 69 evacuation centers serving a total of 53,612 quake-hit families in Davao and Soccsksargen regions. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Raymond Octobre)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has noted the extent of damage that the recent earthquakes have caused to agriculture in North Cotabato and Davao del Sur.
Based on its latest report, the DA said damage and losses in earthquake-affected areas have already increased to P13.33 million from the initial P4.55 million.
The increase in the amount is attributed to the additional structural damage in Davao del Sur.
Among those damaged were several agricultural facilities, irrigation systems, and office buildings.
The DA assured that its regional offices are having an on-going physical inspection of the affected areas to further estimate the cost of damage and losses incurred.
Meanwhile, relief support has been continuously distributed to affected residents through the DA’s collaboration with concerned government agencies and non-governmental organizations. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)
MANILA, Philippines – All 29 victims of food poisoning in Makilala, Cotabato were already discharged from the hospital.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), evacuees from Barangay Malabuan suffered stomach pains followed by vomiting after eating pastel that was part of the donated food packages in the evacuation center.
To prevent the incident from happening again, authorities improved security measures at checkpoints to ensure the quality of food being delivered to the evacuees.
The agency also called on all donors to make sure that food donations are properly prepared and packed to prevent spoilage.
“Hindi naman po natin masisisi ang kung sino man dito sa nangyari (We can’t blame anyone for what happened),” Timbal said.
“But we will do our best to ensure (that this won’t happen again),” he added.
Meanwhile, the national government is sending additional funds for the rehabilitation of earthquake-affected towns in Mindanao.
Earlier on Wednesday (November 6), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana together with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año visited Kidapawan City Provincial Capitol to check on the situation.
Lorenzana said local chief executives are asking for additional budget as they have already used up most of their calamity fund.
Apart from rehabilitation, the national government also provided for the relocation of the victims who lost their homes from the earthquake. – MNP (with details from Harlene Delgado)
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