By BABYLYN KANO-OMAR, VERA Files
BONGAO, Tawi-tawi—The 10 days set aside for the general registration of voters would be sufficient to accommodate all registrants, and an extension would be unnecessary, election officials said.
In villages like Tubig Tanah, voters who had lined up since July 9, the first day of the registration, were still unable to register as of Friday or Day 5, apparently edged out of the queues by non-residents who have lined up to register.
Bongao town has a population of about 58,000. In Tubig Tanah alone, the estimated number of voters as of the May 2010 elections is around 2,000 or so, which means that if the Commission on Elections processed 200 voter applications daily, it would be able to finish the task in 10 days.
The general expectation is that the number of voters will drop, given the assumption that the voters’ lists in the five provinces of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao, including Basilan, have been padded and used to push certain candidates.
(Babylyn Kano-Omar is a journalist at DXGD-AM, a radio station run by the Catholic Church in Bongao, Tawi-tawi. She is also provincial coordinator of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting or PPCRV and is president of the Electoral Reform Advocates. ARMM WATCH is a project of VERA Files in partnership with MindaNews, The Asia Foundation and Australian Agency for International Development.)