ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat (MindaNews / 9 May) – Deadly shootings, mauling, riot and ballot snatching marred the conduct of the May 9 elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), reports from independent poll monitors showed.
In Buluan, Maguindanao, three members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) were killed and another was injured at around 8 a.m. Monday outside the Pilot Elementary School, the International Alert Philippines – Early Response Network (Alert Philippines-ERN) reported.
Alert Philippines -ERN also monitored six people dead and two injured in a clash in Malabang, Lanao del Sur. As of 3 p.m., the two rival political groups were still fighting, it added.
In Tipo-Tipo, Basilan soldiers foiled an attempt by unidentified armed men to snatch ballots at an unidentified polling center, the group said.
An explosion caused by an M-79 grenade launcher injured six persons who were in the covered court of the Datu Piang National High School in Barangay Buayan, Datu Piang town in Maguindanao, Alert Philippines – ERN.
Bernardo Carmelo, head of the monitoring desk of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting in the Archdiocese of Cotabato, said they deployed volunteers at the polling centers to provide real-time important updates.
One of the reports included a voting counting machine (VCM) in a precinct at the San Vicente Academy in Cotabato City that bogged down, he said.
He said that each VCM has been assigned a technician and if it can’t be repaired, the back-up VCM should take its place.
Unidentified individuals were sowing chaos and harassing voters at the Sero Elementary School also in Cotabato City, Carmelo said.
Carmelo reported that in Tamontaka 3, unidentified armed men opened fire Monday afternoon at the compound of the Pagalamatan Elementary School where voters were lining up for their turn.
Two individuals were hit – one fighting for his life, he added.
At the Vilo Central Elementary School still in Cotabato City, Carmelo said that an individual was badly mauled by a group of persons who tried to open the school gate.
Cotabato City is the seat of government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which voted for inclusion during the 2019 plebiscite. Cotabato City reelectionist Mayor Cynthia Guiani Sayadi campaigned against inclusion.
In Maguindanao province, Bangsamoro Member of Parliament Khadafeh Toy Mangudadatu, who is running for mayor of Pandag town, posted a video on Facebook, saying that unidentified men fired at his vehicle.
Two of his companions were injured, Mangudadatu said.
Despite the reported hostilities in various parts of the Bangsamoro region, Lt. Col. Cristio Lagyop Jr., spokesperson of the Bangsamoro region police command, told the Oblates-owned Notre Dame broadcasting Corp. that the conduct of elections in the area was “generally peaceful.” (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)