by Assemblywoman Samira Gutoc-Tomawis
(names of municipalities have not been placed pending verification)
Marawi City – For sure, reregistration will reduce the number of voters in ARMM. Barangay chairpersons and election officers we talked to are confident that the reduction will reach by the thousands.
Tens of registration watchdog volunteers scattered around Marawi and Lanao del Sur while the teachers we conversed with at Marawi Central Elementary Pilot School sighed a relief that they no longer needed to suffer being in the middle of contesting forces during the election activity, registration, which left some non-ARMM residents hurt in the last registration years back.
To schedule a smooth flow, barangay chairpersons agreed to distribute the days among their constituents thus the lines were not as congested as expected. But students left many of the classrooms in the guise of uncertainty. Some asked if a suspension of classes could be made in the first three days to make the crowds lessen after. An estimated 100 can register per day.
Oral complaints of barangay registrants in Marawi who had to travel afar to a registration center a mountain away have reached the COMELEC.
One municipal hall in the first district had not started registration because the mayor allegedly refused to have the biometric machines released. Worse, hundreds of alleged natives from nearby Maguindanao were brought to this far-off town to register.
Despite the deployment of some 1,500 military and another set of police personnel around the province and the city, in the middle of Marawi City, a municipal treasurer from the first district was shot in front of his home at about 9:45 in the morning.
Commissioner Armando Velasco is the officer in charge for Lanao del Sur, the second “most-populated” province in ARMM. The COMELEC monitoring office is at Marawi Resort Hotel. The COMELEC en banc has yet to decide on the petition on enfranchising Manila-based voters . This early, ALERT told us Manila-based voters arrived in one municipality and their tickets were sponsored by political groups.
In comparison, registration in Simunul, Tawi-Tawi has been relatively peaceful. In all the places, the army and police have been deployed.
Thanks to all the texters and calls from people who want change to happen.