Region 12’s 2.4 million voters ready for Monday’s polls

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 12 May) — Some 2.431 million residents in Region 12 or Soccsksargen are expected to troop to polling centers and cast their votes in Monday’s local and national midterm elections.

Lawyer Renato Magbutay, Commission on Elections (Comelec)-12 regional director, said on Sunday that the region’s 3,197 clustered precincts and 1,382 polling centers are all ready for the automated voting.

Data released by Comelec-12 showed that the number of registered voters in the region increased by a total of 345,153 from 2,086,112 in the 2016 elections.

South Cotabato and this city posted the most number of voters with 860,059, followed by North Cotabato with 773,291, Sultan Kudarat with 452,011 and Sarangani with 345,904.

Soccsksargen, which is third in Mindanao in terms of registered voters and 11th in the country, has a total of 15,728 established precincts in 1,158 barangays.

Magbutay said they are hoping for a high turnout or participation in the 12-hour voting, which will start at 6 a.m.

But he noted that the voting turnout in the area during midterm elections is “historically lower” compared to Presidential polls.

“Previously it was about 60 to 70 percent. But we reached 80-plus in 2016,” he said in an interview.

In the 2016 local and national elections, Comelec said a total of 1,669,116 residents in Region 12 or 80.1 percent of the registered voters then were able to cast their votes in some 3,438 “clustered precincts that functioned.”

He reiterated that all election-related preparations are in place, especially in terms of security measures.

Magbutay said police, Army and other law enforcement units in the region are all working to ensure violence-free elections.

“We hope that (violence) will not happen on Monday. We don’t want any untoward incident,” he added. (MindaNews)