NEARLY six years since the Siege of Marawi, the capital city of Lanao del Sur is set to host its first local electoral exercise Saturday, March 18, 2023, when the Commission on Elections (Comelec) conducts twin plebiscites in two barangays.

In a statement, Comelec Spokesman John Rex Laudiangco noted that the upcoming plebiscites in Barangays Boganga and Sagonsongan will be the first ones held in Marawi City since 2017.

“These plebiscites will have the distinction of being the first plebiscites, and exclusively local electoral exercise to be held in the aftermath of the siege and hostilities and liberation of Marawi City in 2017,” said Laudiangco.

Comelec Chairman George Garcia seconded the statement, stating that the conduct of the plebiscite signifies the resiliency of Marawi City voters.

“It has been too long since we have stepped inside the so-called ground zero here in Marawi City. Us holding the plebiscites here is a huge symbolism of their recovery,” said Garcia in an interview with reporters.

On Saturday, the Comelec will be holding two plebiscites in Marawi City for the establishment of two additional barangays.

The first plebiscite is in accordance with City Ordinance No. 07-010 Series of 2022, which seeks to create Barangay Boganga II from the mother barangay of Bongaga.

Voting shall be conducted in three clustered precincts in Kilala Elementary School voting center for the 992 registered voters of Barangay Boganga.

On the other hand, the second plebiscite is based on City Ordinance No. 05-010 Series of 2022, which aims to establish Barangay Datu Dalidigan out of the mother barangay of Sagonsongan.

Two clustered precincts in Bito Elementary School will be the voting center for the 480 registered voters of Barangay Sagonsongan.

It was back in May 23, 2017 when the Marawi siege started after the Islamic State (IS) alongside the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups occupied several establishments in the city.

Known as the longest urban battle in the modern history of the Philippines, the Marawi siege ended on October 23, 2017. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)