At last, polls in Maharlika village in Taguig end ‘clean and uneventful’
PEACEFUL POLLS, UNOPPOSED BET The barangay elections in Barangay Maharlika in Taguig City Monday went on peacefully despite minor problems like some missing names on the lists of voters. But voters and teachers who supervised the conduct of the polls attributed the orderly conduct due to the fact that the candidate for barangay chairman ran unopposed. Video by INQUIRER.net’s Ryan Leagogo
MANILA, Philippines – Who says Taguig’s Maharlika village is a poll hot spot?
Residents of Maharlika village breathed a sigh of relief on Monday as polls closed peacefully for the first time in years.
Both voters and officials attributed the peaceful elections to the fact that the incumbent village chief (barangay captain) Yasser Pangandaman ran unopposed.
“(The elections was) very peaceful…because one of the factors seen is that the barangay captain has no rival,” Maharlika Elementary School principal Flordelyn Umagat told INQUIRER.net. She said voters’ education may also be another factor.
Senior Police Officer 2 Felipe Tagaloguin said much has changed in Maharlika, which is among the police’s declared election hot spots, compared to the past years.
“This year’s election was clean and uneventful,” he said.
Umagat said teachers in the past narrated how they were harassed or accused of cheating because of intense political rivalry.
However, another factor was the seemingly low turnout of voters.
Umagat said they have yet to get the final figures but it seemed that there was only a slim chance of voter turnout would reach 50 percent.
Pangandaman’s sister, village councilor Baisittee Pangandaman, said, “In the history of Maharlika, this was the most peaceful because (the village chief ran) unopposed. The different tribes (Tausug, Maranao and Maguindanao) were also united (under one party)…However, not a lot of people voted.”
She said it was probably because people thought it would not matter if they voted since her brother ran unopposed.
Voters at Maharlika village also experienced the usual problems on Election Day, from missing names in the voters’ list to changes in the polling precincts.
“The number one problem we have right now is the names missing from the Commission on Elections’ voter list. So it’s a Comelec error or they were not able to vote (in the last two elections),” midwife Rowena Guiaman said.
Hassan Sultan and Zhaily Salazar said that while the usual problems persisted, they were happy that there were no cases of election-related violence.
Meanwhile, 78-year-old Julhani Salbia Mohammed complained that she was transferred to a polling precinct on the third floor of the school amid having voted on the first floor last May.
Although old and having extreme difficulty walking, Mohammed still managed to climb three flight of stairs and cast her vote.
“It would be a waste not to vote. They said I should not climb the stairs because it will be difficult for me but I said I will cast my vote. Because as long as I live, I will vote for the people who are qualified,” she said.