GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 May) — Election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) is targeting to mobilize over 2,000 volunteers in his city and the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani and a portion of Sultan Kudarat for the May 13 local and national midterm elections.
Fr. Ariel Destora, PPCRV coordinator for the Diocese of Marbel, said Tuesday the enlistment is ongoing in 28 parishes in the area for volunteers who will be assigned in polling centers and precincts on election day.
He said they were surprised so far with the high turnout of volunteers for the poll duties, with some parishes already signing up some 90 to 100 persons.
“We’re hoping to have volunteers posted in most of our polling centers, including some in the remote areas, and some at the precinct level,” he said in a phone interview.
Sarangani, South Cotabato and this city has a total of 1,509 clustered precincts in 512 polling centers. Palimbang town in Sultan Kudarat, which is under the Milbuk parish, has 53 clustered precincts and 39 polling centers.
As part of the PPCRV’s accreditation as a citizen’s arm of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Destora said they will establish voter’s assistance desk in the polling centers.
Each desk will have PPCRV posters and a laptop or desktop computer that will be used to assist voters in finding their precincts, he said.
Destora, who is also the coordinator of the diocese’s Social Action Center, said Comelec-12 regional director, Lawyer Renato Magbutay, already directed local election offices to provide copies of the voter’s list to the social action committees of their parishes.
He said Comelec will provide them with the fourth copies of the election returns (ER) generated by the Vote Counting Machines.
The ERs will be obtained by a designated PPCRV coordinators to facilitate a centralized system, he said.
Destora said they will work with local volunteers of the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) in monitoring the conduct of the polls.
He said the poll watchdog, which earlier rejected its accreditation from Comelec as citizen’s arm for the 2019 elections, has committed to mobilize volunteers in the area during the polls.
Aside from these, he said their voter’s and political education campaigns are also ongoing in local parishes in the area.
He said these are aimed at ensuring clean, honest and credible elections as well for voter’s to properly discern and decide the right candidates to vote.
“We’re not dictating our faithful whom to vote. But we’re encouraging them to choose candidates who are concerned on the common good and not their own interests,” he added. (MindaNews)