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150K MILF combatants, families to vote in BOL plebiscite after Comelec relaxes rule – spokesman

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Tuesday that it registered about 150,000 combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and some members of their family during the special registration for the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in January next year.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told reporters in Makati City that the poll body had to relax its rules to accommodate the first time voters.

“The biggest rule that we relaxed is the requirement for the registrants to provide valid identification,” he said.

Instead, he said the MILF unit commanders had vouched for the identities of their fighters.

“This allowed a lot of people to register. Remember these fighters they were never in any system, any government system so they didn’t have IDs. So the only system that they were part of was really for their cadres. So when we allowed their commanders to vouch for their identities, we got a lot of them,” Jimenez explained.

The MILF fighters include men and women.

“We talked about the entire ecosystem of the camps for instance. Those people are not just men, they are women also,” the spokesman said.

The 150,000 registered fighters are among those 2.8 million estimated registered voters who are allowed to participate in the plebiscite to be held on January 21, 2019.

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