Voting in 5 Pikit barangays marred by sightings of heavily armed men

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/25 October) – Five barangays in Pikit, North Cotabato requested the holding of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataang elections at the poblacion after the reported sightings of heavily armed men in their areas, police said.

Chief Insp. Jomar Alexis A. Yap, Region 12 police command spokesperson, told MindaNews over the phone that they were still verifying the identity of the armed group.

“Troops from the 71st Infantry Brigade and police personnel have been deployed to the affected areas to secure the villagers,” he said.

No other violent incidents have so far been recorded in Southwestern Mindanao, he added.

Southwestern Mindanao covers the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Delays caused by the unavailability of election paraphernalia also occurred in parts of Cotabato City and Sultan Kudarat province, the police spokesperson said.

But generally the conduct of the election was peaceful in the region, said Yap when asked for police assessment.

In this city, the seat of government of Southwestern Mindanao, lingering problems such as voters’ disenfranchisement, distribution of campaign materials and vote-buying again marred the conduct of the barangay and SK elections. (MindaNews)