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Voters’ ‘migration’ seen in Tawi-Tawi registrations

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by Babylyn Kano-Omar VERA Files

BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi—Aside from the practice of underage voting and hakot or transporting voters to registration centers, election watchers also saw a migration of voters in the recently concluded Commission on Elections (Comelec) listing in the province.

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPRCV) observed that some voters who could not be accommodated in several registration centers because of long lines and the slow processing of forms opted to find other centers where they could get accredited as voters.

Hours before the closing of some registration centers in Bongao, there were still a number of individuals waiting for their turn with the biometrics machines. Comelec however informed those who had accomplished and submitted their forms but were not accommodated at the end of the day that they could continue processing their application with their respective election officers.

In the town of Sitangkai, underaged registrants were discovered. The large number of transferees in the municipality of Panglima Sugala were also later on discovered to be underaged registrants.

In the capital town of Bongao, village officials were seen within the vicinity of registration centers.

Father David Procalla, regional chair of the PPCRV in an earlier interview said that it was reported in one of the meetings of Task Force Rehistro that barangay officials were seen loitering in registration centers all over the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Comelec guidelines for the ARMM registrations state that village officials should be 10 meters away from registration centers.

(Babylyn Kano-Omar is a journalist at DXGD-AM, a radio station run by the Catholic Church in Bongao, Tawi-tawi. She is also provincial coordinator of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting or PPCRV and is president of the Electoral Reform Advocates. 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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