Violence, chaos mars polls in some areas in Caraga, Misamis Oriental due lack of ballots 

by Ben Serrano

      October 25, 2010

            BUTUAN CITY- Voters who went early to diifferent polling precints in some areas in the Caraga Region and nearby province of Misamis Oriental particulraly Gingoog City made loud noises to express their dismay after they were infomed voting ins aid precints will be delayed while some claimed will be postponed due to lack of official ballots and ballot boxes. 

            In Gingoog City at Barangay 19, 20 and other polling precints, Barangay and SK voters who tropped early morning to the voting precints retuned home complaining with some banging chairs that made lioud noises after poll officials announced theere are no ballots available others claimed lack of ballots and ballot boxes. 

            Candidates for SK headed by SK Chair bet Richelle Mae Cañete of Barangay 19, Gingoog City told THE STAR in a long distance interview said that they have been waiting up to 1 p.m. this afternoon to vote due lack of official ballots. 

            “We have not taken our breakfast now lunch because we go early to this polling precints only ended up nothing because there are no official ballots” Cañete said in a mobile phone interview with THE STAR. At the other end of the phone, loud noises of complaining votres at Barangay 19 precints can be heard loudly complaining, shouting.

             Francis Egos, reporter of The Caraga Times and Radyo Natin based in Gingoog City said several voters had to go home because some have not taken their breakfast yet only to be delayed because of lack of ballots, ballot boxes and other voiting paraphernalias. 

            Egos said same scenarios although not all were experienced in some towns of Misamsis Oriental. 

            In Surigao del Sur, Provincial Election Supervisor Alma Acosta told THE STAR in a mobile phone interview that voters in five barangays in San Agustin town have not yet started casting their votes as of noon today to undelivered ballots with some misdelivery of ballots. 

            The 5 barangays affected were Barangay Poblacion, Buhisan, Kauswagan, Otieza, and Sto. Niño. Acosta however assured voters that voting will proceed as soon as ballots will arrived anytime.

            In Agusan del Sur, in San Francisco town, some 1,000 official ballots have same official numbers prompting polling precints officials to halt temnporarily the voting.

            In Lapaz, Agusan del Sur, ballots and other voting paraphernalias also failed to arrive early.

            In Surigao del Norte, beneficiaroes of national government’s Pantawid Program complained to DSWD about rumors that they can’t received cash benefits for the porgram if they failed to vote candidates of the incumbents. 

            The beneficiaries howevre because of fear failed to name names of who these incumbent officials are. 

            DSWD officials confirmed the report saying some municipal mayors have allegedly threatened hundreds of voters mostly Pantawid beneficiaries that beneficiaries will be delisted from the lst of beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Program. 

            Majority if not all of the Muncipal Mayors in Surigao del Norte belonged to the Padajon Party of Congressmen Matugas and Romarate. The complainants howvere did not mentioned names of Municiipal Mayors or any local officials due to they admitted fear. 

            DSWD officials assured voters that they will not be delisted from list of beneficiaries because the program is a national government program. 

            It was not known of what official action taken by the COMELEC after DSWD officials admitted that threatening, coercing, forcing voters to vote for certain candidates are culpable violations of the law. 

           BATASMEDIA tried to cotract Congressmen Matugas and Romarate but to no avail. 

            Violent incidence reports in some parts of Caraga Region that occurred before and after election day to follow please..(-30-)