Comelec sees ‘smooth polls’ in Region 12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/25 October)– It’s all systems go for the barangay elections on Monday in the entire Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) regional office said.

Lawyer Michael Abas, Comelec-12 director, said Friday they have completed all the necessary preparations for the conduct of the polls, specifically the distribution of election materials and the assignment of the teachers who will be serving as board of election tellers (BET).

He also said the security arrangements for the elections were already laid down during their final briefing with the Police Regional Office 12 and local units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines last Wednesday.

The official said the briefing was joined by Philippine National Police Deputy Director General for Operations Felipe Rojas Jr., who reviewed the area’s overall security preparations.

“We’ve ironed out all the necessary election arrangements, especially in terms of security, and everything seems to be alright so far,” he said in an interview over Brigada News.

Comelec-12 has jurisdiction over the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and 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.

For Monday’s barangay elections, the Comelec will open a total of 6,622 clustered precincts comprising the 14,278 established precincts in 1,158 barangays in the region.

It listed the region’s registered voters at 2,081,428.

Abas reminded voters that polling precincts will only conduct the voting, which will be in manual mode, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

After the closing of the voting, he said the BETs will immediately prepare the documents and proceed with the counting.

“The counting might take around three hours or more. But rest assured that by the time we wake up the following morning, all the winners are proclaimed already,” he said.

The official reminded anew all candidates to make sure that they are conducting their campaigns, which end on midnight Saturday, “according to the rules.”

He said they should refrain from violating them to avoid facing possible problems later on.

Abas said they already received a number of petitions for disqualification against several candidates due to alleged election offenses.

“We will not hesitate to disqualify any winning candidate should they be found liable later to an election offense,” he added. (MindaNews)