MANILA, Philippines — Marawi City will have two new barangays.

Residents of Barangays Boganga and Sagonsogan voted in favor of the creation of Barangays Datu Daligdigan and Boganga II out of Barangays Sagonsongan and Bongaga, respectively, during plebiscites held yesterday.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia told reporters in a Viber message that 97.9 percent of registered voters in Barangay Sagonsongan voted yes to create Barangay Datu Daligdigan.

A voter turnout of 98.5 percent was recorded in Barangay Sagonsongan.

In Barangay Boganga, Garcia said 95.4 percent of the registered voters ratified the creation of Barangay Boganga II.

A voter turnout of 95.7 percent was recorded in the village.

Voting started at 7 a.m. at the Kilala Elementary School for 992 registered voters of Barangay Boganga and at the Bito Elementary School for 480 registered voters of Barangay Sagonsongan.

“Maranao people are indeed resilient. The Marawi siege emboldened their spirits,” Garcia said.

“You have spoken through the ballots and it is our commitment that you are heard and your sentiments known,” he added.

Aside from the high voter turnout, Garcia said no untoward incident was reported.

The creation of the two barangays was due to the increase in population in the villages, where residents displaced by the siege relocated.

Election watchdog National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) said the conduct of the plebiscites was peaceful even as it confirmed Garcia’s observation of a high voter turnout.

Observers attributed the high turnout to the people’s ”eagerness to vote.”

However, NAMFREL said COVID protocols, such as physical distancing and wearing of facemasks, were not strictly enforced.

NAMFREL said there was no express lane for elderly voters, persons with special needs and heavily pregnant women, although they were given priority.

There was no isolation polling places, but medical teams from the city health office were present at the voting centers, it added.

2023-03-18T16:40:47Z dg43tfdfdgfd