Comelec declares entire Mindanao, other areas as 2019 poll hotspots

Robie de Guzman   •   March 19, 2019   •   3433

Map of Mindanao | Google Maps

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday (March 19) declared the entire region of Mindanao as an election hotspot ahead of the 2019 Midterm polls.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in a statement the decision developed in the wake of suspected poll-related incidents in the last two elections in the country, and “serious armed threats” made by the New People’s Army (NPA), the Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and some rogue elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and other similar groups.

Jimenez said the military and police joined the Comelec in identifying Mindanao as a hotspot under Category Red.

Other areas classified as Category Red hotspots are Jones in Isabela; Lope de Vega in Northern Samar and the entire province of Abra.

“The category red may warrant the motu propio declaration of Comelec Control over the affected area,” Jimenez said.

“The Comelec En Banc may direct the augmentation of personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as the need arises,” he added.

Category Red also refers to areas where relevant government agencies declared the existence of conditions which may constitute grounds for the declaration of Comelec Control.

The PNP, AFP and Comelec follow a system of classification in determining election hotspots: category orange refers to areas where there are serious armed threats posed by domestic terror groups and other similar groups; category yellow refers to areas with history of election-related violence or the existence of intense political rivalry but without the presence of terror groups; while category green refers to areas of no security concern and are relatively peaceful.

The Midterm elections, set for May 13, 2019, are expected to be participated by more than 60 million registered Filipino voters. – Robie de Guzman

‘Run Sara Run’ banners not considered electoral offense, Comelec says

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Banners and other paraphernalia urging presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte to run in the 2022 national elections are not considered an electoral offense, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Friday.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez explained that it is not a violation of election laws because it is not election period, and Mayor Sara herself is not a candidate yet.

“Kahit nakapag-file na ng COC (certificate of candidacy) ang tao, kung hindi pa naman nagsisimula ang campaign period, hindi pa siya itinuturing na official candidate. At dahil hindi pa siya official candidate, kahit anong gawin niya, hindi pa siya pwedeng tratuhin bilang kandidato. Ibig sabihin, hindi pa siya pwedeng mag-commit ng election offense,” Jimenez said.

The poll body official said that the banners sprouting in different areas can only be considered as part of freedom of expression.

The campaign period for May 9, 2022 elections will start from February 8 to May 7, 2022.

Sara Duterte earlier thanked her supporters behind the campaign but she reiterated that she has no plans of joining the 2022 presidential polls.

She also urged her supporters to remove the tarpaulins they mounted without permits and to stop staging motorcades and other activities that may violate the health and safety protocols against COVID-19. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Comelec launches walkathon event to promote voter registration

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to launch an event that aims to encourage Filipinos to register in the upcoming 2022 National Elections.

The activity entitled, ‘Walkah Walkah: #MagparehistroKa Voter Education Campaign will see Comelec officials and personnel ride and walk for voter registration on February 26.

During the event, motorcycle riders will take off from Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila and will proceed to Mindanao Avenue corner Quirino Highway in Quezon City.

From there, Comelec officials including Spokesperson James Jimenez will lead the walkathon towards Gawad Kalinga Village in Quezon City. Other participants include barangay leaders and other election stakeholders.

Participants will hand out flyers to invite the public to register and inform them about the new protocols amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Comelec, meanwhile, assures health and safety protocols will be implemented. There will also be COVID-19 marshalls that will monitor and ensure these protocols are followed.-AAC

Extended hours for voter registration effective Feb. 15

Marje Pelayo   •   February 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Election (Comelec) has extended voter registration hours across the country.

In a statement, the poll body said all its offices will accept registrations from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesdays to Saturdays, including holidays.

The new schedule, which takes effect Monday (February 15) until the end of September this year, aims at encouraging more Filipinos to register and vote in 2022.

“The designated disinfection day will be moved from Fridays to Mondays in addition to daily disinfection measures being conducted,” the agency said on Sunday (February 14).

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