The official Comelec website (www.comelec.gov.ph) contains statistics on registered voters as of April 28, 2004, for the May 10 Presidential elections then.
The www.bagongbotante.com, supposedly the website of the Education and Information Division of the Comelec, contains the list of candidates from only 16 out of 81 provinces nationwide. Of the 16, only six out of Mindanao’s 27 provinces have a listing of candidates.
The other website, http://comelec.wordpress.com (Inside the Comelec), contains Comelec resolutions, news, etc. The comelec.gov website is supposed to contain vital information, too.
In response to MindaNews’ queries on the three websites, the list of candidates and the latest statistics on registered voters, James Jimenez, Comelec spokesperson and head of Comelec’s EID, said bagongbotante and insidethecomelec are linked to each other and both link to comelec.gov.
“Bagongbotante is a website designed for first-time voters, and is structured differently from (comelec.gov), which is more 'old-fashioned.' It presents the information that voters need in an easier to navigate way. Inside the comelec started out as a resource for COMELEC field officials but it seems to have outgrown the original parameters of the project. Comelec.gov doesn't link to bagongbotante (it actually does – ed) or inside the comelec yet because both are brand-new and are their effectiveness as alternative sites is still being evaluated.”
Jimenez said the list of registered voters is not posted although the list is “available on request, at nominal cost, from the Comelec.
But he did not answer the query on why the statistics on registered voters nationwide and the candidates’ list had not been posted
A week later, the statistical data on registered voters has remained at the 2004 level.
MindaNews sent another message to Jimenez Saturday morning. He replied he would “try to find out why the updating of the (comelec.gov) site seems to be going only slowly. This goes for the voters and the candidates.”
As of 2004, the country had 43.5 million voters, 9.9 million of that from Mindanao.
In 2004, Region 11 (Southeastern Mindanao) which comprises the three Davao provinces, Compostela Valley and the cities of Davao, Digos, Tagum, Panabo, Samal, had 2.13 million voters.
A check with the regional Comelec office today showed the number of registered voters in Region 11 has increased to 2.22 million. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)