MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) decided, on Tuesday, to postpone the conduct of the barangay (village) elections in Zamboanga City due to the effects of the recent crisis there.
“Our consensus is that we will postpone the elections in the entire city of Zamboanga,” said Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. in an interview.
He added that even the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and local government officials in the city also wanted to postpone the elections in the entire city.
Brillantes said he and the poll body commissioners would meet Wednesday to discuss the details of the postponement, including the date of the conduct of the special elections, and whether the officials could serve in a holdover capacity, among other concerns.
Zamboanga City is still affected by the recent crisis, according to Brillantes, referring to the armed conflict between government troops and some members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MILF) that displaced residents and resulted in the burning of houses and voting centers.
“The entire city is affected by the current situation. Floods also affected the city. Many polling places are still being used as evacuation centers. There’s a lot of problem,” he said.
He added that making pre-election preparations has been difficult due to security concerns.
Brillantes said the October 28 polls in other areas would push through as scheduled despite the problem in Zamboanga City, saying they have prepared contingency measures.
“We were initially concerned that the election in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi might be affected since the staging area for the election equipment for those areas will have to be Zamboanga City….but the election in those three provinces will push through, we have contingency plan for that,” he said.
The Comelec earlier said they were considering the postponement of the barangay elections due to burned voting centers.
It added that some Comelec offices were situated in evacuation centers.