PHOTO ESSAY: Balloting inside MILF’s Camp Rajah Muda

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During the height of skirmishes between government soldiers and Moro rebels since the 1970s, Camp Rajah Muda – the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) third largest camp that straddles several barangays in Pikit, North Cotabato – saw only violence.

Decades later, the same tension prevailed in the area during election periods, when armed candidates fight it out with each other.

During last Wednesday’s plebiscite on the inclusion of 67 barangays in seven towns of North Cotabato, it was noticeably different.

There was no tension at all even though armed government soldiers and members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces could both be seen inside the camp. People came in whatever mode of transportation – on foot, bicycles, motorcycles, pump boats, even farm equipment – so they could cast their votes in this historic electoral exercise.

Women walk along corn fields in Barangay Kabasalan on their way to their respective polling places. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
Residents take pump boats on the Pulangi River so they could vote in their polling place in Barangay Barungis. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
Voters arrive aboard a tractor-drawn carriage at a polling center in Barangay Bagoinged. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
A man arrives on his bicycle at their polling center in Barangay Barungis. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
Members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces personnel travel on motorcycles in Barangay Bagoinged. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
Voters search for their names outside a polling precinct in Barangay Buliok. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
Voters search for their names outside a polling precinct in Barangay Bagoinged. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
Moro women queue for their turn to cast their vote in Barangay Buliok. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
Residents queue for their turn to cast their votes in Barangay Bagoinged. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
Residents of Barangay Bagoinged cast their votes. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
A young Moro lady in Barangay Buliok writes on her ballot. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
Members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces guard the entrance of Camp Rajamuda in Pikit. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
Government soldiers secure the polling center at Kabasalan Elemenraty School. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
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