By LOVE ILUSTRE, DXSM
JOLO, Sulu—Except for minor “mishaps,” the 10-day voters registration in Sulu province was “generally peaceful and orderly.”
This is how the Provincial Police Office spokesman Chief Inspector Kris Conrad Gutierrez described the conduct of the registration in centers designated by the Commission on Election (Comelec) in Sulu.
The general voters’ registration in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) ended July 18 and was meant to cleanse voters’ lists which were believed padded by politicians who have long used the ARMM as cheating points.
At least two school administrators of public schools used during the registration commended the Commission on Election (Comelec) for a “systematic and orderly” registration.
Haiver Alamia, principal of the Bakud Elementary School and Pendatun Hadi principal of Parang National High School both observed that for the first time, they saw the members of indigenous group Tausug falling in line because those manning the registration centers “did not show favoritism.”
The registration, both said, were done on a “fist come, first served” basis and Comelec was seen issuing numbers during the first five days of the registration because of the number of people that flocked to the centers.
On the other hand, callers on DXSM hotline complained that they were prevented from registering in some areas.
There were also some who reported incidents of “hakot” or the transporting of registrants to voting centers, but political leaders were quick to explain that they needed to help poor constituents who could not afford to shell out fare to go to the centers, which were far from their residences.
(Love Ilustre is a reporter for the Jolo-based radio station DXSM. ARMM WATCH is a project of VERA Files in partnership with MindaNews, The Asia Foundation and Australian Agency for International Development.)