The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Negros Oriental will deliver ballots and other election paraphernalia to more than 100 critical areas in the province earlier than the usual schedule.
Lawyer Eliseo Labaria, acting provincial election supervisor, said yesterday, based on the recommendations of the election officers in the recent coordinating conference with the Comelec and security forces, more than 100 areas have been identified for the early delivery.
“We need to give the teachers serving in the electoral boards enough time to rest so they can start on time on election day, as we do not want to compromise the process,” Labaria said.
Normally, teachers perform election duties, deliver the official ballots, ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia to the voting centers on election day.
The Comelec official explained that they need to deliver the ballots, ballot boxes and other paraphernalia since these areas are “very far” and inaccessible, not to mention that they also consider security concerns.
“Some of these areas have been identified as very far and inaccessible that one has to walk at least 10 kilometers, while other areas have security concerns, like the presence of Communist insurgents,” he said.
The ballots, ballot boxes and poll materials are deposited with the different treasurers in the towns and cities until election day and only the teachers can withdraw them, Labaria explained.
The earliest delivery will be to the two farthest areas — Sitio Bucao in Barangay Mandu-ao and Sitio Gintangaan in Barangay Tayawan, all in Bayawan City.
Deliveries will also be done early in over 100 areas across the province, including the world-famous dive destination Apo Island in Dauin town.
The Coast Guard will be assisting the police and military in the delivery of these items and securing the safety of the teachers on the island.
Labaria did not disclose the number of military and police personnel, but assured that tight security is in place to protect the ballots and the teachers.
He was also optimistic that no untoward incident would happen during the delivery, especially with more than 3,000 combined security forces deployed in Negros Oriental.
Negros Oriental has been placed under Comelec control for the BSKE to avert violence following the March 4 assassination of Governor Roel Degamo and nine others.
Public urged to report vote-buying
Meanwhile, Labaria urged the public to report to the poll body any form of vote-buying as the election draws near.
Labaria said his office received complaints of an activity held at a barangay in Dumaguete City, where individuals received P2,000 each for a purported “ayuda.”
He said the details were not yet clear as to who was behind the supposed distribution.
However, some photos have already been forwarded to the Comelec provincial office.
Labaria encouraged the senders to file a complaint through email to the Comelec central office under its Oplan Kontra Bigay program as they cannot initiate an investigation in Dumaguete City when they do not have personal knowledge or evidence of the said activity. (PNA)