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Choice 2023: Lost names, hard-to-find precincts but peaceful, orderly so far

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – As expected, like a repeat of the recent 2022 polls, voters in this highly-urbanized center of the province trooped early to public schools here to cast their votes for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections but some, like Angelo Locsin, were also disappointed early.

Except for a woman struck by an allegedly jilted lover with a pipe after casting her vote in the northern city of San Carlos, there have been no significant event reported so far that has disrupted the conduct of polls in the 12 cities and 19 towns in this province of more than two million voters, the monitoring of the Provincial Enforcement, Monitoring and Action Center showed.

“I don’t want to vote anymore,” Locsin told his wife in Hiligaynon after she told him to vote in his polling precinct.

“Tak-an na ko (I’m done),” the amputee said as he hobbled away on his walker, presumably towards home.

Mansilingan is one of the most populated villages here where the punong barangay seat is being contested by incumbent councilman Carlos Anjao and Franz Gasataya, the daughter of three-term solon Greg Gasataya.

He said he waited for close to an hour after the opening of the AL Jayme Elementary School, one of the public schools that becomes a voting center during polling days.

The San Carlos City Police, however, identified the victim as Lovella Lawas, a native of the city’s Barangay 6, who was rwportedly hit in the head with a pipe by Virgilio Clarion who reportedly refused to end his relationship with the victim.

At the office of the Commission on Elections, at least three other voters, one an elderly woman from Barangay 14, all came with the same complaint: they could not find their names at the voting center.

The elderly woman, who refused to be identified, was told by an election officer, however, that she was not really in the masterlist of voters here because she did not file a transfer of residence from Cavite where she was originally registered.

At the PEMAC, deputy provincial director for operations, Lieutenant Colonel Joem Malong and new provincial police chief information officer, Major Rhon J Darryl N Nigos, hooked up with information officers and chiefs of police from across the province through an online meetung app that seemed to assure the seamless and steady flow of information.

“We are leveraging technology but still usimg other means of information,” Nigos said as he pointed out the continued use of paper and 3D maps, large printouts and digital copies to ensure they are keeping abreast with developments and information on the day of the polls.

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