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Despite minor drawbacks, ARMM registrations went well

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By RICHARD FALCATAN, VERA Files

LAMITAN CITY— Despite minor drawbacks, the recently concluded voters' registration in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was satisfactory, the Commission on Election (Comelec) said.

Lawyer Rey Sumalipao, director of Comelec ARMM, said all those who wanted to register were accommodated and the poll body was able finish registrations within the 10 days set aside for the registration, starting on July 9 and ending on July 18.

But several problems were encountered during the registrations. These included allegations that some politicians paid off people to register and, in Tawi-tawi and Basilan, transported non-residents to register as voters in several centers.

In Lamitan City and Tabuan Lasa, the registration was momentarily suspended when some 50 youth from Zamboanga City tried to vote, Roberto dela Pena Comelec director of Basilan said.

Comelec rejected the forms the non-resident registrants tried to submit and then resumed the registrations.

Mujiv Hataman, ARMM OIC Governor, said the registrations in the region was "peaceful" except for the ambush that took place in Basilan and the shooting incident in Lanao.

On July 11, the third day of registrations, the Abu Sayyaf Group allegedly ambushed rubber plantation workers in Barangay Sapah Bulag in the municipality of Sumisip, Basilan. Seven died while 18 others were injured in that  incident.

In Lanao del Sur, a police man shot a barangay captain and three of his companions at the Election Officer's office in Maliwanag village in the town of Bayang.

(ARMM WATCH  is a project of VERA Files in partnership with MindaNews, The Asia Foundation and Australian Agency for International Development.)

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