MNLF-NorthCot says it won’t snub polls

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/13 May) — A top official of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in North Cotabato has assured the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and other authorities the group will participate in today’s elections as agreed during the consultation and dialogue held in Matalam town on Saturday.

Commander Datu Dima Ambil of the MNLF Sebangan Kutawato State Revolutionary Committee issued the clarification after reports came out two days ago that they were boycotting the polls.

Ambil was reported to have declared a boycott in North Cotabato after his group figured in a bloody encounter last week with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Barangay Marbel, Matalam town.

But the police in Matalam said both groups had agreed to cast their vote today.

Senior Insp. Elias Dandan, Matalam police chief said Ambil was among those who signed an agreement during the dialogue on Saturday for a peaceful conduct of elections in the area.

Dandan said Ambil promised to allow his estimated 700 members in Matalam to cast their votes.

Last week, at least 200 families from at least six puroks in Barangay Marbel evacuated after an encounter between the MNLF and MILF. One MILF member was reportedly killed.

The Army in North Cotabato will help the Comelec transport some 200 evacuees from the evacuation centers to their polling precincts in Marbel.

On Thursday, two teenagers were seriously hurt when a projectile of a grenade launcher went off while they were playing with it.

The victims were on their way home together with the other evacuees when they saw the projectile along the road. Thinking it already exploded, they took the grenade and threw it but it went off.

This forced the evacuees to return to the evacuation center and stay there until authorities would declare the road leading to their village safe, reports said.

Meantime, Arakan town in North Cotabato has experienced a brownout since dawn today.

Godofredo Homez, general manager of the Cotabato Electric Cooperative said the glitches were just “minor” and that their linemen would be able to fix it soon. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)