By Claire Gigje
MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA) — Residents from 13 barangays of the most affected area (MAA) of the city here flocked to their polling center, Marawi Sagonsongan Elementary School during the kickoff of the national and local elections Monday, May 9.
The polling place had 20 clustered polling precincts with 11,440 registered voters expected to visit.
Voters began to arrive in the area as early as 5:00 in the morning but it was at 6:30 in the morning when some of the center’s precincts opened. Also, not all of them simultaneously opened their doors as others faced challenges such as no power supply for specific precincts while others still needed to find extension wire to be able to plug in additional necessary materials.
Security forces had also been in place to control the crowd and ensure the safety of everyone.
Voters then attested that the process of voting has been orderly.
A resident who asked her identity not to be disclosed shared that the Vote Counting Machine (VCM) in her precinct encountered challenges but such was immediately given remedy.
She stated that a representative of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) told them they lack manpower as there was only one personnel manning the polling place.
“Everything was running smoothly. Iyon lang, ang makina nadefect na [It is just that the machine had a defect that] at first, hindi niya kinakain [ang balota] [it did not eat the [ballot]]but later on, it was remedied. Hindi naman [natagalan]. It was immediately acted upon. According to the COMELEC, kulang ang kanilang manpower [they had a lacking manpower]. They needed to wait for the other one to check on the machine because only one [personnel] was roaming around that is why it was not acted promptly. However, later on, it was,” said the resident.
Resident alias John who was a first-time voter shared how he had an easy time voting at his precinct without encountering any struggle with the VCM.
He emphasized that he made sure to vote as he deemed it crucial to use his power to put the right leaders in position.
“Okay naman [ang pagboto]… Sa ngayon na eleksyon, kailangan natin gamitin ang ating boto upang iluklok ang nararapat sa posisyon kasi ang ating hinaharap ay mahalaga sa atin kaya bumuto tayo nang mahusay,” said John.
[[The voting] was fine… In this election, it is a must to use our votes to place those who deserve to be in the position because our future is important which is why we need to vote wisely.]
Meanwhile, senior citizen and voter Quin Manalundong appealed to the security forces on standby at the entrance of the polling center to let more voters come in.
She stressed that she had been queuing since 7:00 in the morning and had to wait for hours under the sun as there was no special lane for senior citizens and people kept on gathering at the entrance, all eager to get in.
“Hinihiling namin sa kinauukulan na papasukin kami dahil may mga naghihintay na mga maliliit na bata sa mga bahay namin. Iboboto lang naman namin kung sino ang karapat dapat, “ said Manalundong.
Notwithstanding the various scenarios witnessed in the polling center, voters were nevertheless continuously encouraged to seek their polling precincts to exercise their right to suffrage. (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)