Bangsamoro plebiscite: Cotabato votes for inclusion in new autonomous region

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 22) — The "yes" vote for inclusion in the new Bangsamoro region won in Cotabato City, the city's election supervisor announced Tuesday night.

A total of 36,682 voted "yes," while 24,994 voted "no" for the city to become part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Rommel Rama added. The election official's announcement was greeted with jubilation, with some in the crowd loudly cheering the historic vote, while several women were seen wiping away tears.

While the announcement is official, the proclamation of results will have to be made by the National Plebiscite Board of Canvassers.

Cotabato City-along with Isabela City in Basilan and other areas in the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)-- took part in a plebiscite Monday.

Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi has openly opposed her city's inclusion in the region. She previously said her decision to go "all out" for a "no" vote was representative of the people's will.

READ: Fragmentation grenade disabled in Cotabato City as Bangsamoro plebiscite starts

President Rodrigo Duterte in July announced he signed the BOL, a measure envisioned to end the decades-long conflict and rebellion in the region.

Comelec is scheduled to hold another plebiscite on February 6 for the Lanao del Norte excluding Iligan City, North Cotabato and the 28 areas which petitioned for inclusion into the new Bangsamoro region.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said authorities are already reviewing the security measures for the next scheduled referendum.

"While we see the first plebiscite day as generally peaceful and successful, we cannot just sit and relax on our duties and responsibilities," AFP said in a statement.

"The area for the February 6 plebiscite will be smaller, so the AFP can concentrate more forces to secure the smaller area covered by the (second) BOL plebiscite."

READ: The Bangsamoro plebiscite: Things you need to know