PAGADIAN, Zamboanga del Sur – Pagadian Comelec officer expressed his confidence in the peaceful conduct of this year’s election.
In an interview with Rappler, Atty. Edmund Rey Calo said that they are 100% ready and are only waiting for voters to come.
Part of their preparations were training and rebriefing of the different Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs). The rebriefing included retraining of some BEIs particularly for troubleshooting of the machines.
Peaceful eve of elections
Asked about the pre-election day situation of the city, Atty. Calo said that it was “generally peaceful” with no major incidences that occured identified as an Election-Related Violence.
However, he advised the public not to remain complacent for the situation may still change given that election day is yet to come.
He urged candidates and leaders of the local parties to be “mature enough to advice supporters to be calm and control emotions to observe peaceful elections.”
He also reminded the public about the govenment’s slogan of this year’s election, “SAFE: Safe and Free Elections.”
Violence during election season
There were reported election related violence in the province during the election season.
On April 27, a mayoral candidate in the municipality of Sominot, Proceso Estrada Jr, reportedly survived an ambush while heading home after campaigning.
The previous day, unidentified men riding-in-tandem threw a grenade at the house of Nationalist People’s Coalition provincial board candidate Eddie Relacion. The bomb was recovered by the police.
Earlier that day LP Nelson Escario was gunned down near his house. Escario was the driver of Tyrone Singgo, who was the chief-of-staff of former provincial Gov. Aurora Enerio-Cerilles. Singgo, along with other capitol employees, filed plunder raps against against the Cerilles couple earlier this year.
Earlier in April, niece of LP Kumalarang mayoral bet Nely Joy Molina and her companion were fired upon by unknown assailants in Barangay Mahayahay, Kumalarang. She died on the spot but her companion survived the ambush. He uncle is a co-complainant of Singgo in the graft raps.
There are still many minor incidents of violence not reported.
Successful final testing and sealing
“The final testing and sealing of 151 PCOS machines distributed to Pagadian was successful,” these were the words of Julieto Cabanas, PCOS Testing Supervisor in Pagadian.
He told Rappler that there were no defective machines after testing conducted on May 10, 2013.
Having 54 barangays with some located in the farflung areas of the city, Cabanas said that the PCOS machine has its owm Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) to rely on should networks fail on the election day.
But when all else fails, they have 1 PCOS machine on standby as a contingency machine in the COMELEC office.
Although Comelec is confident, there have been previous reports that Zamboanga have been suffering from daily outages up to 8 hours since the start of the year, which may cause disruption of the automated polls.
It was previously reported by Rappler that Mindanao’s power deficit could be higher than expected, the Department of Energy (DOE) admitted.
DOE Secretary Jericho Petilla said that supply has been curtailed in Mindanao as reserve capacity in the Mindanao grid has been in the red over the past few months.
Calo maintained that the city COMELEC already have contingency plans if ever brownouts occur.
Pagadian city is the capital of the Zamboanga del Sur province. It has 123, 007 registered voters.
According to Calo, poll precints will open 7am and serve until 7pm. He encouraged the public to vote early. –Rappler.com
James Salomon is a Rappler Ambassador.
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