MANILA — Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman George Erwin Garcia on Thursday led the coordinating conference for the Maguindanao plebiscite next month.
Garcia was joined by Comelec commissioners Aimee Ferolino and Marlon Casquejo during the event held in Cotabato City.
According to the Office of the Comelec Chairman, security and preparations for the Sept. 17 plebiscite were discussed.
The plebiscite seeks to ratify the division of the Province of Maguindanao into two, to be known as Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur.
The Maguindanao plebiscite will use 818,790 ballots.
Garcia appealed to the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to ensure the security of poll workers.
“Yun pong kahilingan ko lang, lalo na po sa ating PNP at sa ating AFP, na sana naman po ang ating mga election officers, election assistants, at lahat ng manggagawa sa eleksyon ay ma-protektahan," he said.
"Kahit paano po, ang kanilang security ay masiguro natin. Kahit paano, na sana walang buhay na mawawala o masasaktan dahil sa plebesito na ito,” he added.
The printing for the first batch of official ballots has commenced at the National Printing Office (NPO) in Diliman, Quezon City, Comelec said.
The poll body said the manual election system is used for the conduct of plebiscites, and ballots are accomplished manually by the voters by writing the answer for the approval or rejection of the proposed measure.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte last year approved Republic Act 11550 that divided the southern province.
The two provinces will be created upon approval by majority of residents in a plebiscite, the charter reads.