ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/10 October) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has approved a resolution postponing the holding of the October 28 barangay elections in this city in the wake of the standoff here.
The standoff started last September 9 after hundreds of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels infiltrated this city.
Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said the Comelec’s decision was based on the resolution the Crisis Management Committee (CMC) approved during a meeting last October 2.
Salazar, who chairs the CMC, said Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim attended the October 2 meeting.
Salazar said the Comelec, through Resolution No. 9793 dated October 8, has postponed the conduct of barangay elections in this city, in accordance with Section 5 of the Omnibus Election Code which states that elections may be postponed in cases of violence, terrorism, loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records, force majeure, and other similar situations.
The postponement was made on the basis that the conduct of elections can affect the priority measures currently being undertaken in this city, which include the ongoing clearing operations by the military and police, and the rehabilitation efforts of the local government and its partners.
Salazar said the current situation presents a logistical challenge to the Comelec, especially on the deployment and storage of election paraphernalia as the Mayor Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex and majority of the schools have been converted into evacuation centers for the thousands of families displaced by the standoff and the recent floods.
A special election will be considered on a date not later than 30 days, Salazar said.