High voter turnout in Lanao Norte despite blasts – official

An Army soldier and a police officer with a bomb-sniffing dog check on residents coming to vote during the Bangsamoro Law plebiscite on Wednesday Feb. 6, 2019, at the Kauswagan Central Elementary School in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

TUBOD, Lanao del Norte (MindaNews/6 February) – The explosions that rocked three towns in Lanao del Norte on Tuesday did not deter voters from coming to the polling places on Wednesday, the second round of plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Law, an official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.

The province voted on the proposal to include six of its 22 municipalities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Joseph Hamilton Cuevas, provincial election officer of Lanao del Norte said they expect a 90-percent turnout of voters.

“The multiple explosions on Tuesday have no effect in the turnout of voters today,” Cuevas said.

He said many of the province’s 1,234 polling precincts opened at 7am Wednesday.

A voter looks for her name outside the elementary school in Kauswagan town, Lanao del Norte Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

He said the situation was normal that not one public school teacher refused to perform poll duties unlike in the past elections.

He said they might finish the provincial canvassing by Thursday noon.

Three explosions rocked the towns of Lala, Kauswagan and Sultan Naga Dimaporo on the eve of the plebiscite.

Philippine National Police 10 spokesperson Supt. Surki Serenas said no one was hurt in the explosions and immediately dismissed them as “scare tactics”.

Military vehicles patrol the highway in Maigo, Lanao del Norte on Wednesday, 6 February 2019, during the second round of the Bangsamoro Law plebiscite. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Serenas said two policemen were arrested at a checkpoint in C3 Road, Tomas Cabili in Iligan City Tuesday night.

He identified them as Police Officers 1 Johaimen Mohamad and Rasid Arumpac Lambay, both assigned to the police station in Pantar, Lanao del Norte.

He said the policemen failed to present a Comelec permit allowing them to escort a politician in the province. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)