‘Selective’ relief distribution in Bohol hit-A A +A
Saturday, October 19, 2013
BOHOL -- The campaign period for the October 28 barangay elections started Friday with complaints about selective distribution of relief goods in the town of Loay in quake-hit Bohol.
Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto said such reports have to be validated and government has protocols to address it. “We are drafting a system that all relief items will be distributed through the Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council.”
He said if the selective distribution of relief assistance in Loay is true, then the more there is a reason for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to postpone the barangay elections in the province of Bohol.
He said the Provincial Board endorsed a resolution before noon Friday, officially requesting Comelec to postpone the elections in the province.
He said the teachers who play a key role in the elections are still traumatized and still looking at rehabilitating their lives, the school buildings and even the students. All these should be factored in, he added.
"It is not just the accounting of roads but it’s about the condition of our minds whether we are really ready to go through the political exercise," Chatto said.
"We are still in the process of saving lives, retrieving our dead relatives and rehabilitating our livelihood," he added.
"Honestly, I even forgot that it is the start the campaign," the governor said.
The Comelec has yet to decide on Monday whether to postpone elections in the province or not.
Comelec Commissioner Sixto Brilliantes said, "As of the moment, candidates should just continue campaigning since the elections there is still not postponed."
He even quipped that it is even easier for aspiring barangay officials to campaign since voters are mostly confined in evacuation centers.
"Just simply go to evacuation centers and shake their hands. But don't give out relief goods because it is prohibited. Just leave it to the Philippine Red Cross," said Brillantes.
Earlier, the poll body hinted the possibility of postponing elections in the Bohol and other areas hit by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake last Tuesday.
According to the Comelec head, their regional election director (RED) in Central Visayas had given a recommendation that the barangay polls there may push through.
"But when we reviewed all the reports we got (aside from our regional director), we found many issues that were unclear. So the decision is not to resolve yet on whether we will hold the elections on October 28 or not," said Brillantes.
Instead, Brillantes said he will personally make an ocular inspection of the province either Saturday (October 19) or Sunday (October 20) to personally assess if the barangay polls can be conducted.
He said the procedure is similar to the one they used before they decided to postpone the polls in Zamboanga City after sending Commissioner Christian Lim.
"Our concern is on the cost of their recommendation to have makeshift precincts. Do we have available areas? How much will it cost us? Those details were not in the recommendation. They just said the elections can be conducted," said Brillantes.
"I will make the final assessment then report to the en banc then we decide on Monday. It may be the whole province or it may just be several areas," he added. (With reports from Maria Armie Sheila Garde and HDT/Sunnex)