By Babylyn Kano-Omar, VERA Files
BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi— The Commission on Elections promised there will be no repeat of previous elections when delayed delivery of poll paraphernalia left voters waiting on election day.
Comelec Regional Director Ray Sumalipao for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said all election paraphernalia and precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines will be delivered here on time.
At the command conference attended by the local police, military and teachers, Sumalipao said materials and equipment for the elections will be delivered earlier.
He also praised the efforts of the Department of Education because those who will be serving as Board of Election Inspectors have already been trained.
In the past elections and during the general registration of voters last July 2012, there have been difficulties in delivering paraphernalia on time because of Tawi-Tawi’s geographical location. The province is composed of islands and islets and its accessibility of several towns and villages could depend on the weather.
Sumalipao, who also hails from the region, posed a challenge to law enforcers and election officials. “It is now high time for us to disprove allegations that the region is the cheating capital of the Philippines,” he said.
Representatives from the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of Education (DepEd) attended the command conference held at the Beachside Inn Hotel in the capital town of Bongao.
Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and parts of Basilan compose the ARMM region. A special registration was held July last year to cleanse the list of voters, which contains multiple and underage registrants.
(ARMM WATCH is a project of VERA Files in partnership with MindaNews and I-Watch. It is supported by 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.”)