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COMELEC gears up for smooth, peaceful 2023 BSKE in Lanao Sur

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)--The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is now taking the necessary steps to get everything ready for the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) in Lanao del Sur province, which is slated on October 30 this year. 

COMELEC-Lanao del Sur Acting Provincial Elections Officer Lawyer Utog Tago stressed that although they are enforcing the same guidelines with all the commission’s officers throughout the country, they are especially bracing for the unique instances that might transpire in the province. 

He said they have been closely collaborating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to intensify their preparations by conducting a series of consultations and initially determining highly contested areas--although this may change after the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs). 

Accordingly, the election period will run from August 28 until November 29, with the filing of COCs scheduled from August 28 until September 2, and the campaign period formally commencing on October 19 until 28. With this, campaigning is prohibited from September 3 until October 18, and October 29 and 30. 

Tago conveyed that he would anticipate a smooth and orderly filing of COCs, especially since they have already made an advance announcement about the qualifications set for those aspiring for barangay chairpersons, councilors, and SK officials.

He shared that what would just be crucial in that phase would be the meticulous noting of the age and registration of the poll bets.  

“Tatanggapin naman namin ang kanilang certificate of candidacy kasi ministerial iyon sa COMELEC. Ang hindi lang ministerial ay ang tungkol sa edad at registration,” said Tago.

(We will accept their certificate of candidacy because that is ministerial for COMELEC. What is not ministerial is the age and registration.)

The provincial election officer further mentioned that on election day, election officers would rarely be on the field to check the current situation of the polling center and precincts since the municipal board of canvassers (MBOC) has to be convened at noon.

Moreover, he bared that this time, the proclamation of winning candidates would not be performed by election officers as the board of canvassers would be composed of electoral boards or three assigned teachers.

Reflecting on the previous issues during the election period, Tago assured that they have been and would remain fair and unbiased.

Recognizing the vital role of their deputized teachers, he guaranteed to extend guidance so that they, too, would be advocates of impartiality.

“We will try to make sure na ang tutulong sa amin, tulad ng teachers, [ay maging neutral din] kasi ang magmamanage ng election at talagang nagtatrabaho sa mga classroom are the election inspectors o electoral boards. Mga teacher iyon. Tinetrain namin sila,” said Tago. 

(We will try to make sure that those who will help us, like teachers, [will also be neutral] because the ones who will be managing the election and really working in classrooms are the election inspectors or electoral boards. They are the teachers. We are training them.)

Despite their prayer that no untoward incidents would transpire in their areas of jurisdiction, the COMELEC nonetheless expected that the election period would not be perfect, thus, they amplified preventive measures to secure the necessary elements so that the election would be acclaimed successful.

Tago likewise urged the citizenry to raise grievances with competent evidence against aspirants engaging in premature campaigns and vote buying.

“Malaki ang magagawa ng publiko. Sila ang makakapagpigil sa mga gumagawa ng (The public can do big. They are the ones who can prevent) premature campaigning by filing complaints against them. We would also like to ask the public na tumulong sila na umiwas sa bentahan ng boto o vote buying kasi iyan sa mga sanhi ng kaguluhan sa election (to help in prohibiting the selling of votes or vote buying because that is one of the causes of conflict during the election),” he said. 

Tago emphasized that it is only proper for everyone to do their part in ensuring that the election period would be peaceful. (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

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Claire Gigje

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Region 10

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