Over 5M expected to cast votes in Western Visayas

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ILOILO CITY – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) here is looking at an 80 percent turnout of the 5,026,482 registered voters in Western Visayas in this Monday's national and local elections.
"We have seen the engagement of people during rallies regardless of the candidates. We saw their enthusiasm. At the end of the day we really encourage the people to vote so that they can really express what they want through the power of the ballot," said Comelec regional election director Wilfred Jay Balisado in a phone interview Monday.
He said that one of the challenges that they saw was the provision of waiting or holding areas since other schools being used as voting centers lack space.
Balisado during his visit to various polling centers before election day said there were schools with gyms and covered courts right in front of the classrooms used as voting centers.
"It will be unique from one voting precinct to another but the common thing is that they should always be reminded of the fact that we are still in pandemic and we expect people to still observe proper protocol, such as the wearing of face mask," he said.
The regional election director encouraged those with symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) to just be honest because they can still vote at the isolation polling place (IPP).
Of the over 5 million voters, Negros Occidental has the highest number of registered voters with 1,946,639; Iloilo – 1,628,752; Capiz – 529,079; Aklan – 409,938; Antique – 387,998; and Guimaras with 124,076.
Balisado said the casting of votes can go beyond 7 p.m. if there are still voters within the 30-meter radius, otherwise, the Election Board (EB) can already close the voting, print, and transmit the result.
"We expect this to be finished midday of Tuesday. A lot of municipalities can already proclaim," he said.
Meantime, Election Assistant II Jonathan Sayno, in a phone interview, said that voting went smoothly in Iloilo City even if there was a voting precinct at the J.L Tiongco Elementary School in Jaro district where the vote-counting machine has malfunctioned.
Sayno said that the Department of Education (DepEd) supervising officer (DESO) was advised that the Election Board will just proceed with the voting since it is allowed in the contingency.
"The Electoral Board will just have to gather the ballots, put them in a separate envelop and do batch feeding after 7 p.m. once the machine is repaired," he said.
The problem did not arise during the final testing and sealing (VCM), Sayno added.
Nonetheless, the Comelec in Iloilo City has two contingency VCMs that can be deployed, or they can also utilize the VCM of the nearest precinct within the polling center.
The EB must record the incident in their minutes of voting, Sayno added. (PNA)

Last Modified: 2022-May-09 12.20.48 UTC+0800