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.")

  • Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry
    Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

    Heart-wrenching messages of fear, love and despair, sent by high school students from a sinking South Korean ferry, added extra emotional weight Thursday to a tragedy that has stunned the nation. Nearly 300 people -- most of them students on a high school trip to a holiday island -- are still missing after the ferry capsized and sank on Wednesday morning. Mom, I love you," student Shin Young-Jin said in a text to his mother that was widely circulated in the South Korean media. …

  • Philippine leader apologises over 'world's worst airport'
    Philippine leader apologises over 'world's worst airport'

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino publicly apologised on Wednesday for failures in air conditioning at Manila airport, already named by an online travel guide as the world's worst. The fresh debacle at Terminal 1, used by foreign airlines, came as millions of Filipinos begin travelling for the Easter holidays during one of the hottest months of the year. The transportation ministry also issued a separate public apology Wednesday, on the eve of four-day Easter holidays in the Catholic …

  • PH, China, Malaysia negotiating hostages’ release

    The Philippines and China are now working with Malaysian authorities in negotiating with the kidnappers of the Chinese tourist and Filipina worker who were abducted from an island resort near Semporna in Sabah on April 2. Speaking at a press conference after the Putrajaya Forum 2014 in Kuala Lumpur where he delivered a speech on transnational and organized crime on Tuesday, Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi disclosed that Filipino authorities, in particular, are working …

  • PH grants visa-free privilege to 7 more countries
    PH grants visa-free privilege to 7 more countries

    Travelers from seven more countries can now experience how fun it is in the Philippines without worry, as the government extended them visa-free privileges. …

  • Pacquiao picks 17 as his PBA jersey number
    Pacquiao picks 17 as his PBA jersey number

    Los Angeles — If everything falls into place, Manny Pacquiao might end up becoming not only as one of the shortest players to ever play hoops in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) but also as the oldest rookie. Pacquiao, 35, had told The Bulletin a few days before he faced Tim Bradley in Las Vegas that he will suit up for Kia Motors in the PBA in October. “Number 17,” said the hard-hitting Pacquiao. Kia is one of three new companies whose application was accepted as a member of the …

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.

  • Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

    Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

    AFP News - 21 hours ago
    Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

    Heart-wrenching messages of fear, love and despair, sent by high school students from a sinking South Korean ferry, added extra emotional weight Thursday to a tragedy that has stunned the nation. Nearly 300 people -- most of them students on a high school trip to a holiday island -- are still missing after the ferry capsized and sank on Wednesday morning. Mom, I love you," student Shin Young-Jin said in a text to his mother that was widely circulated in the South Korean media. …

  • Centipede Bursts from Snake's Stomach

    Centipede Bursts from Snake's Stomach

    LiveScience.com - 17 hours ago
    Centipede Bursts from Snake's Stomach

    A group of researchers stumbled upon a grisly scene during a field study in Macedonia last year: a dead nose-horned viper with a centipede's head sticking out of its ruptured abdomen. "All of us were astonished, as nobody has ever seen something like this," Ljiljana Tomovi?, a herpetologist at the University of Belgrade, told Live Science in an email. The remnants of the death match were discovered when one researcher, Dragan Arsovski, turned over a stone, Tomovi? The unfortunate nose-horned …

  • Philippine leader apologises over 'world's worst airport'

    Philippine leader apologises over 'world's worst airport'

    AFP News - Thu, Apr 17, 2014
    Philippine leader apologises over 'world's worst airport'

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino publicly apologised on Wednesday for failures in air conditioning at Manila airport, already named by an online travel guide as the world's worst. The fresh debacle at Terminal 1, used by foreign airlines, came as millions of Filipinos begin travelling for the Easter holidays during one of the hottest months of the year. The transportation ministry also issued a separate public apology Wednesday, on the eve of four-day Easter holidays in the Catholic …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options