Comelec lauds orderly conduct of BOL plebiscite in Lanao del Norte, N. Cotabato

Marje Pelayo   •   February 6, 2019   •   1982


Bangsamoro Plebiscite in Dilangalen Central Elementary School, Midsayap, North Cotabato | Comelec Twitter

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) lauded the overall conduct of the second plebiscite on Wednesday (February 6) for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato.

The overall process went smoothly , according to Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jiminez, as voting proceeded ‘unhampered’ despite rains in Lanao del Norte and no untoward incidents were recorded in all other venues of the plebiscite.

There were no reports of plebiscite members withdrawing from their duties and all election paraphernalia were distributed accordingly in every polling precinct.

Jimenez added that voter turnout on the second day of plebiscite surpassed the poll body’s expected number of participants in the referendum.

“At least in some places, we’ve already received reports that the estimate is edging up to 75%,” Jimenez said.

Meanwhile, the police and the military remain on high alert because of alleged sightings of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters near some of the venues of the plebiscite.

The poll body, however, is coordinating with authorities to verify the reports.

“There are some places where there are some persistent rumors of armed men coming into the territories, supposedly or allegedly MILF Fighters,” Jimenez confirmed.

“We are trying to verify these rumors but, in the meantime, the Local Government Unit are on alert and the AFP and PNP are apprised of the situation,” he added.

The poll body also does not discount the bombing incident that happened in three separate areas in Lanao del Norte on Tuesday (February 5) on the eve of the second plebiscite.

“The investigation is still ongoing. We cannot definitively say that it was election related although again having said that the timing sort of makes it irrelevant whether or not it actually was intended to be election-related,” Jimenez explained.

After the official closure of the election process, the convening of certificates of canvass will proceed on Thursday (February 7) at the Palacio del Gobernador in Manila. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Voter registration in Taal eruption-affected areas to resume on Feb. 3 – Comelec

Robie de Guzman   •   January 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The voter registration in Batangas and Cavite areas affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano will resume on Monday, February 3, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Thursday.

In a statement, Comelec said the voter registration for the 2022 elections will resume in the following places in Batangas province due to a return to normal working conditions:

  • Alitagtag
  • Balete
  • Laurel
  • Lemery
  • San Nicolas
  • Sta. Teresita
  • Taal
  • Talisay
  • Cuenca
  • Lipa City
  • Tanauan City
  • Balayan
  • Calaca
  • Kalatagan
  • Tuy
  • San Luis
  • Mabini
  • Lian
  • Malvar

In Cavite, the poll body said that registration of voters will also resume in Alfonso, Indang, Silang, Tagaytay City, and Amadeo.

Meanwhile, the voter registration in the municipality of Mataas na Kahoy in Batangas will resume on February 10, according to Comelec.

The poll body earlier announced the suspension of the registration in areas within and beyond the 14-kilometer danger zone of Taal Volcano during its eruption.

Voter registration resumes Jan. 20, except in Taal-hit areas — Comelec

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday announced that the voter registration for the 2022 presidential elections will resume nationwide on Monday, January 20, except in some areas in Batangas and Cavite that were affected by the ongoing eruption of Taal Volcano.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said voter registration in municipalities and towns of Batangas located within the immediate danger zone and other areas surrounding the Taal Volcano will be suspended.

These places include:

  • Agoncillo
  • Alitagtag
  • Balete
  • Laurel
  • Lemery
  • Mataas na Kahoy
  • San Nicolas
  • San Teresita
  • Taal
  • Talisay

Voter registration will also be suspended in the following localities outside Taal zone but still affected by ashfall, earthquakes, impassable roads and power interruptions:

  • Balayan, Batangas
  • Cuenca, Batangas
  • Lian, Batangas
  • Mabini, Batangas
  • Mabini, Batangas
  • San Luis, Batangas
  • Tuy, Batangas
  • Tagaytay, Cavite
  • Alfonso, Cavite
  • Amadeo, Cavite
  • Indang, Cavite
  • Silang, Cavite

Jimenez said the resumption of the voter registration in areas affected by Taal Volcano unrest will be “contingent on the ability of those places to recover and return to normalcy.”

Taal Volcano remains under alert level 4, which signifies an imminent hazardous explosion, despite decreasing emissions. The volcano belched ash and smoke last Sunday, January 12, which sent thousands of residents scrambling to safety.

Aside from these areas, Comelec said the resumption of voter registration will also be deferred in Makilala, North Cotabato which was hit by a strong earthquake last December 2019.

Registration is also postponed in 24 municipalities in Palawan province to give way to the May 11, 2020 plebiscite on the proposal to split the province into three areas.

As for the rest of the country, the poll body said the application and updating of records will be done at the Office of the Election Officer from Mondays to Saturdays including holidays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age on or before election day or on May 9, 2022; a resident of the Philippines for at least one year; and must have lived in the place where he or she intends to vote for at least six months on or before election day.

The registration period will run until September 30, 2021, except on the following dates:

  • April 9, 2020 (Maundy Thursday)
  • April 10, 2020 (Good Friday)
  • December 25, 2020 (Christmas Day)
  • April 1, 2021 (Maundy Thursday)
  • April 2, 2021 (Good Friday)

Comelec also said that registered voters as of May 13, 2019 midterm elections need not apply anew.

Duterte visits, vows aid to quake victims in North Cotabato

Robie de Guzman   •   December 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday assured continued support for residents in North Cotabato towns that were devastated by earthquakes between October to December 15 that shook parts of Mindanao.

“I assure you that the government will continue to help all of you until you are able to get back on your feet and start anew with renewed hope and greater capacity to lead dignified lives,” Duterte said in a speech during his visit to M’lang, North Cotabato.

Aside from meeting quake victims, the chief executive also distributed food packs as well as financial grants to residents from earthquake-stricken towns in the province.

North Cotabato is among the provinces heavily damaged by the series of earthquakes that jolted parts of the Mindanao region.

Last October, the province of Cotabato suffered three succeeding temblors – magnitude 6.3 on October 16, magnitude 6.6 on October 29 and magnitude 6.5 on October 31.

On November 1, a magnitude 5.0 quake struck Makilala, Cotabato just a few hours after a magnitude 5.5 tremor hit waters off Sarangani province.

The latest was a magnitude 6.9 temblor that hit Davao del Sur and shook neighboring areas on December 15.

The earthquakes displaced thousands of residents who are now staying in evacuation shelters.

Duterte said he has ordered the National Housing Authority (NHA) to fast-track the setting up of housing units for those who were rendered homeless by the recent quakes.

The president expressed hope that the assistance he extended will make the victims feel the warmth and joy of the season despite their current situation. He also apologized for not visiting them sooner.

“I condole with you. I share your grief. Sa totoo lang, kaya ako andito, pinilit ko, and I must apologize, I am very sorry that I couldn’t be here immediately. Marami hong problema sa Maynila,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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