Village polls will be peaceful, orderly, Comelec assures voters
MANILA, Philippines—All is set for Monday’s special barangay (village) polls in earthquake-devastated Bohol and battle-scarred and flood-ravaged Zamboanga City, the Commission on Elections assured the 1.21 million registered voters in the two places.
The Comelec said it was confident the polls would be “peaceful and orderly.”
At the same time, it urged the voters in the 1,109 barangays of Bohol and 98 barangays of Zamboanga to “choose the best” of the 15,347 candidates for barangay chair and councilman.
Election Commissioner Grace Padaca noted that after going through natural and manmade disasters, the residents of the two places “need credible and efficient leaders more than ever.”
Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr., along with Padaca and Commissioner Al Parreño, will personally monitor the village elections in Zamboanga City, while Commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph will do the same in Bohol province.
There are 799,089 registered voters in Bohol and 412,661 in Zamboanga City, according to Padaca.
In an e-mail, she told the Inquirer there were 1,488 candidates for punong barangay (barangay chair) and 10,929 for kagawad (barangay councilman) in the island province.
She said that in Zamboanga City, there were 291 candidates for barangay chair and 2,639 for barangay councilman.
Last week, both Padaca and Parreño told this paper the Comelec was “100 percent ready” and “all set” for the holding of today’s special barangay elections, with all voting paraphernalia and equipment “already in place.”
The regular barangay elections on Oct. 28 were postponed in Bohol after a magnitude-7.2 earthquake wrought great damage in the province on Oct. 16.
On the other hand, the elections in Zamboanga were reset following three weeks of gun battles between government forces and renegade members of the Moro National Liberation Front in September and the massive flooding that occurred afterward.
On Sunday, Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia said the “right to vote” of Bohol and Zamboanga citizens “is protected and assured.”
The Comelec “assured voters in the two areas of a peaceful and orderly conduct of the barangay elections,” Guia said in a text message.
Guia and Commissioner Robert Lim will monitor the elections from Comelec headquarters in Intramuros, Manila.
Monday is a nonworking special holiday in the two places.