Except for pre-election harassments, lack of accessibility, BSKE in Cebu smooth
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Save for the harassment reported in two southern towns, and the lack of accessibility support for seniors and persons with disabilities (PWDs), the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in Cebu went orderly and peacefully.
Officials from the police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Commission on Elections in Central Visayas (Comelec-7) said the conduct of the BSKE this year was ‘generally peaceful.’
Ivan Delos Santos, administrative officer of Comelec-7, said they recorded no untoward incidents as voters cast their ballots on Monday, October 30.
But prior to Monday’s elections, two incidents of harassment were reported in the towns of Argao and Dumanjug over the weekend, prompting authorities to take measures to prevent these from happening again in the future.
Comelec in Cebu province (Comelec-Cebu) has requested the police to reassign some of their quick response teams (QRTs) to Argao and Dumanjug.
Separate investigations have also started to determine the identities of people accused of harassing supporters and residents in the two municipalities, the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) said.
Last Saturday, October 28, during the last day of campaigning for the BSKE, groups of individuals reportedly intimidated and threw stones at random people in Brgy. Bulasa, Argao in southeastern Cebu.
A day after, people in Brgy. Tapon in the southwestern town of Dumanjug, reported to the police about the presence of armed men harassing them.
A netizen also managed to record a video of the armed men pointing their guns and kicking at the complainants.
Lack of Accessibility
While no major hitches occurred during election day on Monday, senior citizens and persons with disabilities decried the lack of accessibility support in voting centers.
Even Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama urged Comelec to provide more accessibility to voters in need of assistance.
In turn, Comelec-7 vowed to address these issues in order to have a better and more accessible voting experience in the next polls.
“We have taken note of these, and we are grateful for the feedback and we will make sure there will be improvements in the future elections,” said Delos Santos.
Senior citizens in several voting centers, like Guadalupe Elementary School and Cebu City Central Elementary School, complained of waiting for hours before they could actually vote.
Some of the reasons behind this problem, according to election officers, may have stemmed from the lack of Election Accessibility Polling Place (EAPP) Support Staff assigned in a voting center, and that not all names of identified seniors and PWDs have been transferred to accessible voting precincts.
For the BSKE this year, Cebu has over 3.3 million registered voters.
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