By BABYLYN KANO-OMAR
BONGAO, Tawi-tawi—The general registration of voters went off to a peaceful start here, the Philippines’ southernmost province, although delays and power shortages slightly marred the event.
Election paraphernalia arrived in the capital Bongao only on July 9, the first of the 10-day general voters’ registration in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
The paraphernalia had to be transported to the far flung towns like Mapun, where the registration opened only on the second day, July 10.
Other glitches included power interruptions and the lack of generator sets, which caused delays in communication among election watchdog groups like the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).
A number of local officials were also seen in some registration precincts and had to be told they were off limits in the area.
Overall, there was a feeling of excitement among voters, and some boredom on the part of local official but the atmosphere was generally peaceful.
(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.)