Yesterday’s ARMM elections were reportedly peaceful. But obviously, the bigger story lies not in who would eventually be proclaimed governor. The bigger and most immediate story is the ongoing violence in North Cotabato.
Still there are many poll-related questions that will need to be answered in the next few days. Generally speaking, was the automation of voting and counting successful? How fast was the counting? Can we now use this system in 2010? I also wonder how Indanan, Sulu Mayor Alvarez Isnaji did in the gubernatorial race. Remember that Isnaji and his son have been tagged for the kidnapping of broadcast journalist Ces Drilon.
But back to the ongoing violence. Needless to say, the government must act even more swiftly to avert a humanitarian crisis in Northern Cotabato, as such scenario is already looming. To a certain extent, it may be good that that the government has gained control of some renegade strongholds. But there are now reports that these groups have retreated to nearby Maguindanao. Will we now anticipate a spillover of violence in Maguindanao? Authorities in the province should then act fast to prevent such scenario from even erupting.