Voting: Taking responsibility for our community

By: Izobelle T. Pulgo May 15,2016 - 10:45 PM
GABI CORDOVA SPECIAL ELECTION/MAY 14, 2016 Felipe Pogoy 60 years old a resident of sitio Mahayahay, Gabi, Cordova was carried by his family going to the polling place at Gabi Elementary school to cast votes despite his physical condition.(CDN PHOTO/FERDINAND EDRALIN)

Felipe Pugoy is carried by family members to his polling precinct at the Gabi Elementary School in Cordova so he could cast his vote during the special elections last Saturday. He stressed the importance of voting as a responsibility to our community. (CDN PHOTO/FERDINAND EDRALIN)

Their votes would have little effect on president-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s victory and those national candidates with substantial leads over their opponents.

But voters of Cluster 33 at the Gabi Elementary School polling precinct, trooped to the polling center to cast their votes during Saturday’s special election with gratitude in their hearts that they were still able to vote.

There were 436 voters who weren’t able to exercise their right of suffrage on election day because ballots intended for their precinct were misprinted with the names of local candidates in Barangay Jolomaynon, Dalaguete town.

They were thankful that despite their number, government did not “forget” them and scheduled a special election just for them.

Benjamin Pogoy, 50, cast his ballot with his 4-year-old granddaughter Mojin Bentolan, tagging along with him.

He said he brought along little Mojin because her mother, who would also be voting in the afternoon, was still working and there was no one else to whom he could entrust the care of the little child.

Pogoy said he would support whoever would be elected to office.

“Maminaw lang ta sa panahon if unsa’y mugawas ana nila. Support lang jud ta if kinsa’y mudaog,” he said.
(We will see what happens. Let’s just support whoever will win.)

The choices of the 436 voters in Gabi would affect the outcome of the local bets in Cordova. Their votes were what was awaited by the Commission on Elections before the poll body could proclaim a winner for the gubernatorial race. Their votes completed the Consolidated Election Returns from Cordova.

Gresna Arcena, 28, said the special elections showed that government valued the sanctity of the ballot and respected their right to vote.

“So far, I’m happy because we’re given the chance to vote,” she said. “It’s May 14 and they’re not declaring anything yet, they’re waiting for us so okay lang if na-delay, as long as natagaan mi ug chance to vote,” she said.

Arcena, an engineer, had cut short her two-month vacation in France just so she could vote but was dismayed when she found out on Monday that the ballots meant for her precinct were misprinted.

To top it off, there was a possibility they would not be given the chance to vote as there was no assurance from the Comelec that a special election would be held for them.

Arcena said she found out about the special election through an link that was posted on Facebook, and was notified of the exact date through text.

“We waited for the whole day until 8:25 in the evening (during the elections) and then we were told to go home,” she said.

“It was quite disappointing. Imagine it’s the presidential election – it happens once every six years. Every six years, you have all the time to do your job. There is a big possibility that many of the people who were not able to vote were not able to come back,” she added

At 8:44 a.m. last Saturday a 60-year-old man in a wheelchair was carried inside the polling precinct because his wheelchair could not traverse the unpaved path leading to the classrooms.

Felipe Pogoy, who is suffering from liver cirrhosis, was assisted by his son as he chose his candidates and fed his ballot into the vote-counting machine (VCM).

Despite his difficulties, Felipe insisted on casting his vote because he said it would be a waste not to exercise his right.

“Anugon kaayo akong boto,” he said. “Importante kaayo ng naa jud ta’y timailhan sa lungsod. Mao ni usa sa pinaka-importanteng katuyoan nganu mu-botar jud ko.”
(My vote would be wasted. It is very important that we have a voice in the town. This is the most important reason why I always vote.)

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TAGS: Cordova, election, Gabi Elementary Schoo, voting

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