Comelec-XII sees high voter turnout for village polls

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/28 October) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Region 12 is expecting a high turnout in Monday’s barangay elections despite the onslaught of floods in parts of South Cotabato and the reported security problems in some parts of the region.

Sharon Alim, Comelec Region 12 election assistant, said voting in majority of the polling precincts in the region have turned out smooth and orderly based on initial feedback from Comelec personnel and teachers who served as board of election tellers.

But she said they could not yet determine the exact voting turnout in the region as the counting at the precinct level is still ongoing.

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.

Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, has a total of 14,278 established precincts in 1,158 barangays in the region.

The area’s registered voters for Monday’s election were listed at 2,081,428.

At the pilot accessible polling precinct for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) established by the Comelec at the SM mall here, Alim said a total of 59 voters were able to cast their votes out of the 68 who earlier signified to participate in the special voting.

The 59 voters, three of whom were PWDs, were all from Barangay Lagao here, which was earlier designated by the Comelec as the pilot area in Mindanao for the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 10366, which authorized the poll body “to establish precincts or accessible polling places exclusively for persons with disabilities and senior citizens.”

“It was considered a success considering that 86 percent of the voters were able to participate or cast their votes,” she told MindaNews on the phone.

She said the conduct of the voting at the pilot precinct was quite fast and the participants declared that they were at ease with the entire process.

Alim said they were able to meet the project’s main objective of providing an accessible and comfortable voting venue and system for the participating senior citizens and PWDs.

In South Cotabato, Comelec election assistant Vangie Mellejor told MindaNews that all designated polling precincts have functioned and no failure of elections was declared in any part of the area.

She said the earlier floods in Koronadal City and parts of Tantangan town hampered the movement of some voters to the polling centers but cited that no precinct was affected by the calamity.

Mellejor said they were still determining the exact voting turnout in the area through the local election offices but she said the initial feedback that they received was quite favorable.

In Sarangani Province, provincial election assistant Ronnie de Castro said they also expect a high voting turnout in the area.

“All precincts were able to function normally and we have not recorded any failure of elections,” he said.

De Castro told MindaNews that some parts of the province have reported some flooding early Monday but it did not affect the operation of the polling precincts, especially the conduct of the voting. (MindaNews)