Ballots arrive in Cebu City; poll preparations on track

Ballots arrive in Cebu City; poll preparations on track
A total of 450 boxes of ballots will be delivered to the voting centers in the north district while the 387 will be for the south district

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A total of 837 boxes containing official ballots for Cebu City arrived at Cebu City Hall on Monday, May 2, and were turned over to the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) a week before the big day.

In Mandaue City, police teams searched for 270 voters in order to tell them they can no longer vote on May 9. They have found only 6 so far.

Preparations will peak this week for the country’s 3rd automated elections.

Two 10-wheeler wing vans from 2Go Shipping delivered the official ballots to city hall after these arrived from Manila. Four police cars and two members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team on motorcycles escorted the van from 2Go warehouse in the North Reclamation Area to city hall.

Lawyers Edwin Cadungog and Michael Sarno, election officers of the north and south districts of the city, opened the vans in the presence of lawyers representing presidential candidates Vice Mayor Jejomar Binay, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Grace Poe, and former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

Officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Cebu City waited for 3 hours for the representatives of the political parties before the ballots could be unloaded.

City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas and Assistant City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo received the official ballots, which will be stored in the CTO.

A total of 450 boxes of ballots will be delivered to the voting centers in the north district while the 387 will be for the south district.

Last week, other election paraphernalia also arrived at city hall and were stored in the CTO.

Cuevas said they are waiting for the official ballot secrecy folders, which the voters will use while voting and in feeding the ballots into the vote counting machines (VCM).

The VCMs arrived last week in Cebu and are being secured in a warehouse in Mandaue City. These machines will be distributed to the different voting precincts on May 6, said Cadungog.

Testing and sealing of the machines will also be done from 8 am to 11 pm on the day of the delivery.

Official ballots and other election materials will be distributed starting at 1 am on May 9. All these materials should be in place before 6 am, when the voting centers open, Cadungog said.

Secured

Both Cadungog and Cuevas assured that tight security is in place for the ballots.

The police will also closely watch security cameras at city hall, while a fire truck from the Bureau of Fire Protection will be standing by.

“It is the task of the law enforcement office or agency to secure the VCMs and official ballots. At this time, we can see that there is already a deployment plan for our security officers,” Cadungog said.

Watchers of different parties are also welcome to keep a close watch on the election materials.

In Mandaue City, the police have been trying to locate voters whose registrations have been deactivated, to spare them the trouble of going to the polling places on Monday.

Only 6 out of 270 deactivated voters in Mandaue City heard directly from a Manduae City Police Office (MCPO) team.

The rest were not found in their last known addresses.

Transients

An MCPO team led by Senior Superintendent Jonathan Cabal took the initiative of locating these deactivated voters to help the Comelec, especially the board of election inspectors (BEI), prevent disruptions on election day.

Cabal asked for 10 names of deactivated voters per barangay from the Mandaue City Election Office. Mandaue has 27 barangays.

Police went to the addresses of the deactivated voters last Saturday and Sunday, using the list from Comelec.

Of the 6 voters the police found, 4 said they were not aware that their registration had been deactivated.

At least 150 deactivated voters have moved elsewhere, the police learned.

MCPO found out that most of those on the list were transients.

In a separate interview, Mandaue Election Officer Ferdinand Gujilde said it is possible that the deactivated voters who transferred residences or were no longer found had no intention of voting, but just needed to register.

“That explains why they did not respond to our notice to submit to biometrics,” Gujilde added. – Rappler.com

This article is republished under Rappler’s content sharing agreement with the SunStar network in the coverage of the 2016 national and local elections. 

 

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