Voter registration going on smoothly in SuluBy Julie S. Alipala, Richel Umel
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Sulu could become the first province in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to come out of notoriety—as far as illegal voters are concerned.
It could also become one of the first ARMM provinces to have a peaceful registration of voters amid reports of violence in other areas of the five-province region.
Election Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, the commissioner in charge of voter registration in the province, said that unlike in other ARMM areas, election personnel have not encountered any problem involving illegal registrants or violent incidents.
“We haven’t monitored any minors or double registrants up to now,” Tagle said, adding that the registration has so far been peaceful.
He said the main problem in Sulu was related to power as generators sets have conked out. The machines being used by the Comelec to capture voters’ biometrics need steady power supply, he added.
Tagle said the delivery of materials needed for the registration was delayed in some places.
“But over all, the registration was smooth for the first three days,” he said.
In Basilan, despite the slight delay in the start of the registration on Monday, the activity went on smoothly, according to Commissioner Elias Yusoph.
Yusoph said Wednesday’s ambush in Sumisip, Basilan, in which six persons were killed and 27 others were wounded did not affect the registration in the municipality.
“There’ll be no more dead persons casting their votes or even minors after this general registration,” Yusoph said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Yusoph said, 9,513 persons had registered in 67 centers province-wide.
He said the Comelec expects more registrants to troop to the registration centers on or before July 18, the last day of the registration.
Prior to the new general registration, Basilan had 177,000 voters.
“We expect them to flock to the centers in the last two days,” Yusoph said.
In Marawi City, Lieutenant Colonel Dario Bocawit, commander of the 64th Infantry Battalion, said they have prevented suspected “flying registrants” from entering Lanao del Sur.
Since Monday, Bocawit said at least 25 vehicles carrying suspected “flying voters” had been turned away by soldiers manning checkpoints.
The vehicles came from Iligan City, Dipolog City, Cagayan de Oro City, Bukidnon and some from Davao City, he said.
Bocawit said that in Butig town, registration was briefly halted after a commotion inside a registration center, while in Bayang town, three civilians were wounded when they were shot by an unidentified man near a registration center.