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  • The school that was recently burned is located in this island of Bongo in Parang. File Photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

    By Artha Kira Paredes, VERA Files

    Cotabato City— School district supervisors will still be monitoring barangay polls in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao where police and military will be serving as board of election tellers (BET) in some precincts, the Department of Education in the ARMM said on Friday.

    District supervisors will still be around schools in the volatile region on October 28 even if the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be manning precincts in place of teachers.

    This is not only to “monitor the safety of teachers” but to “ensure protection of schools, pacify parties and avoid damage to schools,” ARMM DepEd Secretary Jamar M. Kulayan told VERA Files.

    One school was recently burned in Bongo island in Parang, Maguindanao and it is suspected that this is election-related, he said.

    The PNP, AFP and Commission on Elections announced in a joint press conference Thursday that police and military will serve as BETs in ARMM

    Read More »from District supervisors to monitor ARMM polls
  • The Commission on Elections. Photo by DARLENE CAY/VERA Files

    By Vince Nonato, VERA Files

    The Commission on Elections has finally signed the P100 million check to fund the honoraria and other expenses of police and army deputies tasked to maintain peace and order and carry out other election-related duties, Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. announced Friday.

    The funds, P60 million of which will go to the Philippine National Police, and the remaining P40 million to the AFP, will also cover expenses previously incurred by the two agencies in preparation for the October 28 polls.

    The release of the cheque has been delayed due to of administrative snags, causing the Comelec some discomfort as the army and police have had to pay for some expenses out of their own pockets.

    Pero anyway, nandyan na. Kapipirma ko lang ng tseke kaninang umaga. Nandyan na 'yung budget. (But anyway, it’s already there. I’ve just signed the check. The budget’s there),” Brillantes said.

    The poll chairman expressed annoyance at the constant questioning by media people. “Lahat ng

    Read More »from PNP, AFP assured of payment for poll duties
  • DILG monitor IDs. Photo by Artha Kira Paredes

    By Artha Kira Paredes, VERA Files

    Cotabato City— The Department of Interior and Local Government in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is collaborating with election watchdogs and all local peace and order councils in the region to monitor the barangay elections on Monday.

    In separate letters to the Citizens Coalition for ARMM Electoral Reforms, Inc (C-CARE) and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) dated October 24, Regional Secretary Anwar Malang asked both watchdogs to work with the department “as far as the different election activities is concerned in this coming barangay political exercise.”

    The letters were addressed to C-CARE chairman Salic Ibrahim and PPCRV National Chairperson Henrietta de Villa thru Mindanao Coordinator Father David Procalla.

    The regional DILG earlier organized its Regional and Provincial Monitoring Teams, and said it wanted to partner with the watchdogs and contribute to “the achievement of honest, orderly and peaceful

    Read More »from ARMM DILG boosts poll monitoring teams
  • By VERA Files

    It's all systems go for the barangay polls.

    Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr on Friday announced that the electoral body is ready to conduct successful elections, and that all materials for October 28 have been deployed.

    "We’ve completed the preparations...we should be winding up on the final deployment,” he said.

    Comelec commissioners discuss preparations for the Oct 28 polls. (File photo by DARLENE CAY)Deployment of materials to most provinces was completed earlier as officials prioritize the delivery to the countryside. Election paraphernalia for the National Capital Region and nearby Regions III and IV-A are deployed last.

    Brillantes also reminded voters to troop to polling places early as the voting time will only be from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Unlike the past two elections, the barangay polls on October 28 will follow manual procedures. The voting time has been shortened to allow the Board of Election Tellers to start the manual canvassing early.

    "Basta bumoto na lang kayo. Kung pwede, agahan ninyo (Just vote. If possible, vote early.),” he

    Read More »from Comelec all set for Monday’s poll
  • By Cooper Resabal Jr., VERA Files

    Toril, Maribojoc – On the eve of their fiesta, residents of this scenic barangay buried on Thursday a mother and a teenage girl who were casualties in a landslide triggered by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit the island province of Bohol early morning on October 15.

    Ten days after the tremor that claimed at least 180 lives mostly from this tourist island, a large section of the population of this barangay is still camping out in makeshift tents beside an open ground near the village hall. Most of the 114 houses here were damaged by the quake.

    Toril was getting ready to celebrate its fiesta when the earthquake struck. Preparations were being made by various groups for the October 25 feast of the Virgen de los Remedios, their patron saint. Now, its art deco chapel that was just recently renovated is a pile of rubble. Its convent had also collapsed at the height of the tremor.

    The barangay, in the fourth class municipality of Maribojoc, is

    Read More »from Fiesta celebration re-examined in quake-hit village
  • By Vicente Alejandro, VERA Files

    Tacloban City – Thousands of policemen have been deployed to different parts of Eastern Visayas to help secure the barangay elections on Monday.

    This week alone, some 3,980 policemen were sent to man the Police Assistance Desks (PADs) in clustered voting centers throughout the region. Earlier, more than 900 cops were deployed to different provincial and city police offices around Eastern Visayas to augment police personnel in the field.

    Police Inspector Romuel Nacar, media relations officer of the regional office here, the three Samar provinces tagged as priority areas were augmented with the most number of policemen.

    Northern Samar received the highest number at 294, followed by Samar with 208 and Eastern Samar with 201, he said.

    Other areas that got additional personnel were Leyte, 130 men; Southern Leyte, 80; Bilaran, 50; and Tacloban and Ormoc cities, with 20 men each.

    The police would secure a total of 2,312 clustered voting centers while the

    Read More »from Security measures in place for village polls in E. Visayas
  • By VERA Files

    A word of advice from Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez: guard against vote-buying but exercise prudence when documenting such acts.

    The public was helpful in documenting vote-buying and other violations in the May elections and in Monday’s barangay polls, citizens are again expected to be vigilant. But the poll official warns: take it easy with those cameras.

    “Although we are very cognizant of citizen journalism, delikado ‘yung nakakita ka ng tao, pi-picture-an mo (It is dangerous to just take pictures of people you see),” Jimenez said. “Kung kaya nilang kunan nang patago, good. Subukan nila. (If they can take pictures discreetly, good. Let them try — but never at the risk of their own safety.)”

    A common practice during elections, giving away sample ballots with money attached is against the law. Still, such acts are but “small fry,” Jimenez said.

    Ang talagang object ng ating attention, ‘ika nga, ay ‘yung malawakang attempt at vote-buying (The real object

    Read More »from Beware of vote-buying, but …
  • Vertical posts taken sept 2, 2013By Ellen Tordesillas, VERA Files

    The concrete blocks in Bajo de Masinloc, which Philippine defense and military officials last month accused China of putting there, may have actually been placed by the United States Navy decades ago, military sources said.

    A military investigation found that the concrete slabs were covered by algae, an indication that they had been in the area for many years. The probe also found that the blocks had been used by the U.S. Navy as “sinkers” to preserve the wreckage of old ships they used for target practice.

    The information contradicts Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin’s statement at the congressional budget hearing in September in which he accused China of laying the foundation for structures similar to what it did in Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in 1995.

    DND Photos of Scarborough Shoal

    Gazmin released photos of some 75 concrete blocks scattered within Bajo de Masinloc, including a photo of two vertical posts at the shoal’s entrance. Philippine Navy Chief Jose Luis Alano had

    Read More »from AFP probers say US, not China, put concrete blocks in Bajo de Masinloc
  • A policeman stands guard at the registration in Timanan, South Upi, Maguindanao. Photo by AMIEL MARK CAGAYAN.A policeman stands guard at the registration in Timanan, South Upi, Maguindanao. Photo by AMIEL MARK CAGAYAN.

    By Vince Nonato, VERA Files

    As in previous elections, police and military personnel will serve as election tellers in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in Monday’s barangay polls, in place of teachers who have refused to render service.

    Teachers across the country normally serve as election tellers but fearing for their safety, many in the ARMM opt out of their election duties, Philippine National Police spokesperson Senior Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac said on Thursday.

    ARMM consistently has one of the highest numbers of election-related incidents in the country. Out of the 30 incidents recorded since September 28, the start of the election period, five of them—all shooting incidents—occurred in the highly volatile region.

    Among the dead are one barangay kagawad each from Jiabong, Sulu and Parang, Maguindanao.

    The security situation is what prompted the Commission on Elections to request the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to take the place of public school

    Read More »from Police, military to serve as election tellers in ARMM
  • By Darlene Cay, VERA Files

    The Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas on Wednesday filed a motion for reconsideration after a local court denied its petition to declare as illegal the Commission on Elections’ directive requiring barangays to help fund the October 28 polls.

    The group, in its petition before the Manila Regional Trial Court, says the Comelec’s resolution requiring all barangays to augment the poll budget is “unconstitutional and against the law.”

    Under Resolution No. 9739, all barangays are required to set aside no less than P10,000, but not more than 10 percent of their general fund reserved for the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), as their contribution to the Comelec’s budget for Monday’s elections.

    The funds will be used to augment the P1.2 billion allotted by Congress for the polls, and will help defray the Board of Election Tellers’ expenses for transportation, additional honoraria, trainings and meetings.

    Malinaw sa batas na 'yung 10 percent is only allotted for youth

    Read More »from Requiring barangays to fund Oct 28 polls illegal, says group


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