CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – The barangay elections in the Bicol Region’s six provinces are delayed due to the late arrival of ballot boxes, a military official said today.
In Catanduanes, LtCol Danilo Aquino, Commander of the 83rd Infantry Battalion based in this province said that Atty Maria Aurea Bo-bunao declared that the elections will be held for two days starting today.
“Only the ballot boxes for the SK elections arrived completely at around 4:00pm and at least half of the ballot boxes for the barangay elections which arrived this morning. The truck which transported the other ballot boxes was delayed due to mechanical problems and couldn’t make it to the Tabaco port in due time,”said Aquino.
“Due to the prevailing situation, the initial polls will be held in three towns today including Virac, San Miguel and Bato. The elections will be in full swing in the rest of the towns tomorrow,” added Aquino.
Military and police personnel have been deployed to their respective areas as part of their election duties. Aquino said that all of his security preparations are ‘already in place’.
In Albay province, 7 towns and the city of Legaspi will have their elections tomorrow, October 26.
LtCol John Oberio, Commander of the 9th Infantry Battalion based in Albay said that the election paraphernalia have not arrived in time, forcing the COMELEC to reschedule the elections in the towns of Camalig, Daraga, Bacacay, Guinobatan, Libon, Oas and Polangui.
There are no reported election-related violent incidents in Albay Province.
In Sorsogon, only 7 towns have started its voting while the distribution of election paraphernalia is still ongoing in the rest of the towns.
LtCol Santiago Enginco, Commander of the 49th Infantry Battalion based in Juban town, said that COMELEC officers have declared the postponement of elections in Donsol town.
There are no reported ERVIs in the province which was the rocked by the atrocities by the NPA bandits last week. There were also reported clashes in the last few days, the latest of which resulted to the death of Eleuterio Mangampo a.k.a. Ka Junjun, the most ranking bandit leader in the province.
In Camarines Sur, four municipalities were affected by the ‘partial postponement’ of the elections due to delayed delivery of election paraphernalia.
Colonel Cirilo Teodoro Torralba, Commander of the 902nd Infantry Brigade which has jurisdiction over Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte said that elections are postponed to October 26 in the towns of Garchitorena, Pasacao, Tinambac, Caramoan and Calabanga.
Though delayed for at least 3-4hrs, elections in other towns in Camsur pushed through. In Pili town, ballot boxes arrived at around 7:00am and the distribution of election paraphernalia to various polling centers started at around 8:00am.
Torralba also said that elections have started in most of the towns despite of the delay of the arrival of election paraphernalia. Quoting the report from duty election officers, casting of votes has started in the towns of Jose Panganiban, San Vicente,, Daet and Vinzons.
Some of the election paraphernalia ‘are still on their way’ to the municipalities of Capalonga, Labo and Sta Elena.
In Masbate Province, polling is postponed to October 26 according to LtCol Anthony Purugganan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Battalion based in Milagros town.
Purugganan said that the ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia have just arrived at around 10:00am.
Purugganan also reported that soldiers and policemen had confiscated two firearms from suspected private armed groups (PAGs) in a checkpoint operation in Aroroy town at 9:00pm last night.
He said that a platoon of his unit led by 1st Lieutenant Welbin Beda, supported by police personnel from Aroroy town, seized a Cal 7.62mm M14 Rifle and a Cal 9mm Ingram Submachinegun from the suspects who immediately fled upon seeing the soldiers .
The Special Task Force Masbate has confiscated a total of 10 high-powered firearms since its reactivation last month.
A man was also seriously injured in a stabbing incident in Puro village of the same town at around 10:00pm.
Purugganan said that the victim, Manuel Manlapas,35, was attacked by Ramil Catanares, 35, a village watchman. Personal grudge was eyed as the motive of the attack.
Catanares was collared by responding policemen and detained at the police station in Aroroy town. The victim is currently recuperating in a local hospital and was said to be in stable condition.
Meanwhile, a passenger bus with license plate number HVP 508 carrying at least 50 passengers bound for Tacloban City went into flames as it cruised Quirino Highway in Ragay town, Camarines Sur at around 6:00pm last night, October 24.
The driver of the bus claimed that the faulty electrical wiring had caused the burning accident.
No one was injured among the passengers, most of whom were trying to reach their respective hometown to vote for today’s elections.
The overall security situation in the Bicol Region is calm and peaceful. There are no recorded election-related violent incidents as of this time. This is attributed to the intensified security patrols conducted by both Army and PNP forces.