Arson fails to disrupt barangay elections in North Cotabato
PIKIT, North Cotabato—Unidentified armed men tried to burn down an election precinct in this municipality hours before the polls opened for special elections on Friday in 12 barangays or villages where a failure of elections was declared last Oct. 28.
Captain Antonio Bulao of the military’s 6th Infantry Division said men believed to be supporters of one of the candidates in Barangay Bago Inged set on fire one of the classrooms at the Bago Inged Elementary School at 2 a.m. but residents managed to put out the fire immediately.
Bago Inged chairman Latip Cudales told the Pikit Police that armed men were seen leaving after pouring gasoline in one classroom and setting it on fire.
The special elections went on smoothly, however, in the villages of Bago Inged, Gocotan, Balong, Barongis, Balongis, Balabac, Bulol, Talitay, Rajamuda, Bualan, Buliok, and Lagundi, all riverside barangays of Pikit and considered areas of immediate concern by the police.
About 150 policemen from Police Regional Office served as members of the board election tellers.
Duque Kadatuan, North Cotabato election supervisor, said the balloting was going smoothly with “enough Army and police personnel” serving as peacekeepers.
Kadatuan said after the polls close at 3 or 4 p.m. election documents and ballot boxes will be taken to the Pikit Central Elementary School for the counting and canvassing and eventually the proclamation of winners.
A failure of elections was declared in the 12 localities in Pikit last Oct. 28 after public school teachers refused to man the polls out of fear for their safety.