GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 Oct) — Around 2 million voters from various parts of Region 12 are trooping to 1,381 polling centers on Monday to elect their new set of barangay officials who will hold office for the next three years.
Lawyer Jose Villanueva, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Region 12 assistant director, said all 6,622 clustered or grouped precincts in the region that were set up for the barangay elections are all ready for the conduct of the actual voting, which will begin at 7 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.
He said each clustered precinct, which comprise three to four established precincts, will accommodate an average of 400 voters.
Every clustered precinct will be assigned with three teachers who will be serving as board of election tellers (BETs), he said.
Region 12 (Southwestern Mindanao; also known as the Soccsksargen region), has a total 2,081,428 voters who will troop to 14,278 established precincts in 1,158 barangays in the region.
Comelec Region 12 has jurisdiction over the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.
Although a part of Region 12’s administrative coverage, Cotabato City was placed under the Comelec in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The city has been the “temporary seat” of office of the ARMM since 1990.
In this city, the Comelec central office designated Barangay Lagao as one of the four pilot areas in the country for the establishment of accessible polling places for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens.
The city Comelec has enlisted 68 PWDs and senior citizens for the special voting, which will be conducted at the atrium of the SM City General Santos mall.
Villanueva reminded voters that the bringing or carrying of cameras and the use of mobile phones inside the polling precincts are strictly prohibited.
He said the prohibition is intended to prevent voters or any interested individual from taking photographs of their ballots and eventually use them to sell their votes.
In the previous elections, certain political camps had required some voters to get photos of their ballots as proof of their support.
Villanueva reminded voters that they are not allowed to take a peek and copy from the ballots of other persons casting their votes.
“Copying is not allowed,” stressed Villanueva, who is acting as the city’s election officer.
After the closing of the polling precincts at 3 p.m., he said the BETs will immediately count the votes and submit them after completion to the barangay board of canvassers.
He said the canvassing will be done at pre-designated places within the polling centers.
The official added that they expect the voting on Monday to come out smooth and orderly as well as free from power outages
This city and other parts of Region 12 have been experiencing two to five hours of daily rotational brownouts due to the worsening power shortage in the Mindanao grid. (MindaNews)