Comelec, police ready for village polls-A A +A
Monday, October 28, 2013
IT’S all systems go for the conduct of the barangay elections today, Monday, as preparations had been made by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with the help of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Cagayan de Oro City election officer Aleli Ramirez said the poll materials were already delivered Sunday afternoon by the Comelec and distributed to all the voting centers in the city.
Ramirez said the Comelec staffs were escorted by members of the PNP who acted as security.
“We hope the conduct of the barangay elections will be peaceful and orderly,” Ramirez told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro by phone Sunday.
The city at present has a total of 285,645 registered voters, an increase from the 277,931 registered voters in last May’s synchronized local and national elections, Comelec data showed.
Superintendent Danilo Pelisco, PNP-Northern Mindanao deputy regional director for operation, said police officers have been deployed to escort Comelec staff since October 23.
He said 377 law enforcers are assigned to 60 voting centers in the city.
Pelisco also confirmed to Sun.Star that authorities have not received any information or report of groups or individuals who are out to disrupt the electoral process.
“We are hoping for the best. We have prepared for this and conferences were held to ensure that all hitches are acted upon so we could have a smooth election,” Pelisco said.
In previous interviews, Pelisco said that the PNP regional office has assigned around 1,143 police officers to polling centers in Northern Mindanao, and focusing on the 217 barangays in the region that are under the PNP’s election watch list.
According to police report, the political situation in the barangays is generally peaceful although there are some complaints from local candidates.
Marlon Tabac, who is running as village chairman in Barangay Gusa, said the candidates are complying with the election laws except for one bet who employed a different tactic, taunting him and the other hopefuls.
Tabac said what this certain candidate did was to employ his siblings, who are all government employees, to help him in his house-to-house campaign.
“Part ‘na sa iyang political strategy. Gituyo ‘na nila kay gusto sila nga mosumbong ‘mi sa Comelec pero di ‘na namo hatagan og dignidad. Diha sila nasayop (It’s a part of his political strategy. They want us to complain it to the Comelec but we will not dignify it. That’s where they are mistaken),” Tabac told Sun.Star on Sunday.
“I told my supporters, kalma lang, pasagdi lang ‘na sila (Be calm, let them do their own thing),” he added.
One of the biggest barangays in the city, Gusa has 10,332 registered voters.
Hope for the best
For the 23-year-old Regine Nailga, fashion photographer and entrepreneur, this will be her third time to vote and she hopes that just like in the past elections, the balloting in Barangay Tubahon, Laguindingan town, Misamis Oriental, where she will cast her vote, will be peaceful.
Nailga, however, wished that vote buying would stop as it has become a norm come election time.
“Dili gyud ‘na siya (vote buying) okay. Gapanganad na ang mga tawo. Unfair kaayo kay kung kinsa ‘tong naay kwarta mao may modaug (Vote buying is not okay. The people have become used to it. It’s so unfair since only those who have money will win),” Nailga said.
Adele Marata, 23, a college student, and resident of Lapaz 1 in Barangay Lapasan, shared her experience during her first time to vote in 2010.
Marata, a single mother, said it was not difficult for her to go to the polling precinct to cast her vote with a child in tow.
“Dali ra kaayo ko naka-botar kay nagdala man ko’g bata kay i-prioritize man gud nila (I found it so easy to vote when I brought my child since we were given priority),” Marata said.
She said the political atmosphere in Lapasan was not tainted with mudslinging and other dirty political maneuverings.
The only complaint she had were the mobile public address system of candidates that went around Lapasan during the campaign period even at unholy hours.
She said it has inconvenienced her, especially during the time that she’s studying and putting her child to sleep.
Like the rest of the more than 50 million registered voters in the country’s 42,026 barangays, both Nailga and Marata said they would go out Monday and exercise their right to vote.
Those from calamity-hit Zamboanga City and Bohol will not troop to polling precincts on Monday, as the Comelec reset the balloting in these areas to November 25.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 28, 2013.