The Inbox

Despite conflict, ERB to push through in Maguindanao

Click on photo to view video

Text by Artha Kira Paredes, Photos and video by Amiel Mark Cagayan, VERA Files

DATU SAUDI AMPATUAN, Maguindanao— The hearings of the Election Registration Board (ERB) will push through in Maguindanao until the scheduled completion by September, even if the ongoing conflict persists.

Maguindanao Provincial Election Supervisor lawyer Udtog M. Tago said all Election Officers will be looking into and assessing the peace and order conditions in their respective towns.

Should the situation be like in Datu Saudi Ampatuan where the Commission on Election (Comelec) office is being use as a temporary shelter for evacuees, he said, "Pwedeng maghanap ng ibang space (We can look for another venue)."

In case some ERB members are unable to pass through roads because of security threats, "pwedeng mag-designate ng safe place (we can designate a safe place), he said.

Last week, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Mindanao told media that 45,000 people have been displaced since clashes between the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Philippine Army broke out the night of August 5. BIFF was part of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) until it broke away.

Displaced families are from the towns of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Shariff Aguak, Datu Unsay, Datu Hoffer Ampatuan and Guindulungan.

In this town alone, a building in the local government unit compound that serves as the office of the town council, the Comelec and the Human Resource section has been transformed into a temporary home to some 58 families of internally displaced persons or bakwits from Barangay Kabingi.

Ismael Silungan, whose house was shot at eight times around 11 p.m. of August 5, fled his home past midnight with his wife and four children aged five to 12. A corn farmer, he said he has not visited his field since the clashes started.

Nandang Limba, also among the bakwits in the LGU compound, said she used to gather woods in the forest to sell but has not been able to earn a living since. Most of their belongings have been destroyed, she said. Her family, including three of her children, now relies on rations and relief goods from local officials.

Lines of makeshift tents fashioned from bamboo and madre cacao pegs with rice sack roofs and blanket walls stand along the highway. At the moment, this is what other bakwits call home. It does not protect them from the rough elements, especially in the afternoons when it usually rains.

OIC ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said the conflict in Maguindanao is already "towards (its) end" and will probably be finished before the postponed ERB hearings.

On Saturday, media also quoted ARMM political leaders and the military saying that bakwits can now return home safely.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) that counts Maguindanao among its five provinces held a 10-day general voters' registration July after congress and senate passed Joint Resolution No 3 that stated their voters' book was padded because of ghost voters. The ERB that will hear objections to the applications before approval shall be held on the weekdays of September 20 to 26.

Tago said that at least three oppositions have already been filed at the provincial Comelec office but that these are "very general." He said one of the objections is on hakot or transporting voters to registration centers by the hundreds but that it was not specific enough in a sense that it did not mention particular persons involved.

He said the conflict does not have much effect on the filing of objections because it is the work of lawyers.

Based on ARMM Comelec records as of July 21, Maguindanao had 536,356 individuals who enlisted as voters during the recent registrations. The tally is lower by 30,000 than the number of previous voters

The non-government organization Citizens Coalition for ARMM Electoral Reforms, Inc (C-CARE), has observed an increase in the number of voters in the towns known to be bailiwicks of incumbent governor Ismael Mangudadatu and a decrease in the towns identified as strongholds of his political opponents, the Ampatuans.

Maguindanao has the highest voting population among the five provinces in the region.

(ARMM WATCH  is a project of VERA Files in partnership with MindaNews, The Asia Foundation and Australian Agency for International Development. VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. VERA is Latin for "true.")

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ISIS has not penetrated Phl – AFP
    ISIS has not penetrated Phl – AFP

    Security officials yesterday maintained that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has not penetrated the Philippines following an expert’s warning that the group poses a threat to the country. Abu Sayyaf, BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters), private armed groups to our knowledge are the people making problems down south,” Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. said. The BIFF and the Abu Sayyaf have pledged allegiance to the ISIS but it remains uncertain whether they are …

  • Cerbo named national police intel chief
    Cerbo named national police intel chief

    Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina yesterday ordered the appointment of PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. as chief of the Directorate for Intelligence. …

  • Pump prices up anew
    Pump prices up anew

    Oil companies announced yesterday another round of price hikes with independent oil firms among the first to issue their respective announcements. PTT Philippines, the local subsidiary of Thailand’s biggest oil firm, and Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, another independent oil company, were among the first to issue their respective advisories. Seaoil Philippines also issued its announcement. …

  • PNP to ease rules on gun permit processing
    PNP to ease rules on gun permit processing

    The Philippine National Police will simplify requirements for getting a firearm’s permit under the new gun control law, PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said yesterday. Espina said they are working to simplify the process to secure a license to own and possess firearms (LTOPF) amid complaints of excessive requirements from gun holders. Espina directed the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) to make it easier for legitimate gun owners to comply with the …

  • Mercy for Mary Jane: Pacman joins appeals
    Mercy for Mary Jane: Pacman joins appeals

    World boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao took time out yesterday from final preparations for his $400-million megafight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. to plead for the life of a Filipina on death row in Indonesia. Pacquiao, a national hero in the Philippines, added his voice to a chorus of global opposition led by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the executions of a group of foreign drug convicts, including compatriot Mary Jane Veloso. The eight-division world champion, who will face …

  • Phl condoles as Nepal death toll hits 3,700
    Phl condoles as Nepal death toll hits 3,700

    Foreign rescue teams equipped with heavy cutting gear and relief supplies were landing round the clock at Nepal’s only international airport on the outskirts of Kathmandu, which has been devastated by Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude quake. “We need more helicopters for our rescue operations in rural areas,” said Nepal Home Affairs spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal. In a statement issued yesterday, Aquino said a team from the Philippine embassy in New Delhi, India would travel to Nepal to meet the needs …

  • Heat index to rise to 39.9ºC on Friday
    Heat index to rise to 39.9ºC on Friday

    People in Metro Manila should stay indoors on Friday, wear lightweight and light-colored clothing and drink plenty of water as the heat index – the temperature as felt by the human body – may reach 39.9 degrees Celsius on that day. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said this level of apparent temperature may cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. “Heat index is a human discomfort index that gives the apparent temperature, or …

  • Indonesia rebuffs last-ditch bids to delay drug-convict executions
    Indonesia rebuffs last-ditch bids to delay drug-convict executions

    By Kanupriya Kapoor and Jane Wardell CILACAP, Indonesia/SYDNEY (Reuters) - Indonesia said the execution of nine drug traffickers would go ahead this week, rebuffing last-minute appeals from Australia and the Philippines to spare their nationals and ignoring a decision by the Constitutional Court to hear a final challenge. Australia began the day with a plea for a stay in the execution of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, saying reports that their trial had been tainted by corruption needed to …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options