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Poll body stays despite shift to federal form of government

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 28 July 2017 10:35 AM

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_072717_FEDERAL GOV

“The Comelec cannot be abolished because there is a need for an agency that would supervise the election. The question would be if the Comelec will continue to be a national organization or will it be a state organization.”

This was the explanation of Comelec chairman Andres Bautista when asked about what will happen to the poll body if the proposed shift of government from democracy to federalism pushes through.

In the proposal of former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., there will be 11 federal states when the country shifts to federalism – 4 states in Luzon, another four in Visayas, and 3 in Mindanao.

Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said it will still depend on what kind of federalism the country will adapt.

Bautista said one example of federalism is United States where each state has its own election agency.

“That might possibly happen. There might be a Comelec for Luzon, for Visayas, and Mindanao. That would depend on those who would write the federalism law,” Chairman Andres Bautista said.

Comelec said it is ready to discuss its stance on the matter should congress summon the poll body regarding the proposal.

Comelec also recommends a nationwide discussion among lawmakers to help the public understand the effects of federalism in the country.

“What’s important for me is for the public to be taught and given with proper information regarding the plan to shift to a new form of government,” said Bautista.

Bautista said implementing federalism in the country will not be effective at present especially since the country is being run by a democratic government.

Shifting to a federal form of government will mean each state will be given autonomy to create their own laws like on taxation, and infrastructure.

The National Government, meanwhile, will be in charge of matters pertaining to internal and external defense, as well as foreign affairs. – Aiko Miguel | UNTV News and Rescue

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PNP to augment troops in Comelec-controlled areas

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, 25 March 2019 03:45 PM

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Members of the Philippine army man the checkpoint at the entrance of Maguindanao province, 11 May 2013. Security is tightened as political tension rises two days before the Philippine midterm election in the province. Maguindanao is among the election hot spots tagged by Comelec.

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) will realign its troops to augment its forces in areas under the control of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) prior to the conduct of May elections.

These areas include the municipality of Jones in Isabela; Lope de Vega in Northern Samar; Daraga in Albay; the entire Abra province and the whole of Mindanao.

According to PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde, there are 941 election hotspots across the country, 570 of which are placed under red category of areas of grave concern.

Meanwhile, 131 falls under yellow category or areas of concern; and 238 falls under orange category or areas of immediate concern.

“Iyong mga naka-assign dito sa national headquarters, we deploy them to the different critical areas. Basically we create a special task group headed by senior officer at least police brigadier general,” Albayalde said.

Albayalde clarified, however, that not all areas under the red category or placed under Comelec control are areas of violence.

These areas were classified as such, according to Albayalde, based on the situation in the previous elections.

“This is probably to ensure that deployment of personnel. There are enough, not necessarily nasa red areas iyan o areas of grave concern ay ibig sabihin magulo ang lugar na yun,” he explained.

The National Capital Region (NCR) and the Ilocos Region are not included in the list of areas of grave concern, Albayalde assured. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Lea Ylagan)

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Comelec: Shipping of overseas voting ballots almost complete

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, 25 March 2019 03:00 PM

An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Dubai participates in 2013 Philippine elections through overseas absentee voting (OAV). (Lonix Foto Grafix | PVI)

MANILA, Philippines — The shipping of the official ballots to be used in the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) for the May midterm elections is almost complete, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.

Comelec Office for Overseas Voting Director Elaiza Sabille-David said that, as of Sunday (March 24), nearly 100 percent of the ballots for the automated personal voting have been shipped to various countries.

Ninety percent of the ballots for manual personal voting have also been deployed, Sabille-David added.

Comelec printed a total of 1.8 million ballots for the OAV, which will be held from April 13 to May 13.

The poll body said that Filipinos abroad can only vote for candidates who are running for national seats, the Lower House and the Senate.

Meanwhile, Comelec continues to conduct trainings with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officials from different countries in preparation for the upcoming midterm polls. – Robie de Guzman

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Comelec allays concerns over tagging of Mindanao as poll hotspot

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, 21 March 2019 11:32 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday allayed concerns over its decision to declare the whole of Mindanao as a category red election hotspot.

The poll body on Tuesday (March 19) tagged the entire region as poll hotspot in the run-up to the 2019 May Midterm elections due to “serious armed threats” made by the New People’s Army, the Abu Sayyaf Group and other terrorist groups.

READ: Comelec declares entire Mindanao, other areas as 2019 poll hotspots

Some groups have raised concerns that the declaration may lead the Comelec to favor certain candidates in the coming polls. However, the commission assured that this will not happen.

“With regard to the apprehension that this declaration might lead to partisanship by the COMELEC, the election management body reassures the public that this will not happen,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in a statement.

Jimenez said the decision to place the entirety of Mindanao under Comelec control “was the result of consultation with local Comelec officials, as well as the PNP (Philippine National Police) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines).”

“While it cannot be gainsaid that there are areas within Mindanao that are relatively peaceful, the inescapable reality is that election-related violent incidents respect no municipal borders; and that the activities of armed groups and terror organizations are not always clearly demarcated,” he explained.

Jimenez also assured that the results reporting procedures of the automated election system will remain transparent and protected.

“The results reporting procedures of the automated election system are fully transparent and protected by multiple redundancies which, by and large, have been proven successful in preventing cheating in the last three automated elections – 2010, 2013, and 2016,” the Comelec official said.

“There is no reason to fear that it will be otherwise in 2019,” he added.

The assurance followed the call of Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin for Comelec to review its decision, claiming that President Rodrigo Duterte only wants to use the poll body “to subvert the electoral process to [ensure] its favored candidates’ victory” in the coming polls.

However, Jimenez stressed that “the Comelec simply seeks to ensure utmost responsiveness to whatever need may arise” when it placed Mindanao under category red. – Robie de Guzman

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