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Non-partisan assistors still needed in polls – PPCRV youth volunteer

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KALASUNGAY, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon (30 October 2023/BukidnonNews.Net) Volunteers from non-partisan groups are still important in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, said the youth leader of the local chapter of the nation-wide Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

Ms. Christine Lydel Sulugan, PPCRV Coordinator here said non-partisan assistors would help maintain the integrity of the election process.

“Every voter will have their own candidates  ...we are important because we are non-partisan. We help moderate the elections,” she added in a chance interview with BukidnonNews.Net Monday morning. PPCRV fielded 15 volunteers in the Kalasungay Central Elementary School (KCES) where there were 15 precincts serving close to 5,000 registered voters, Sulugan said.

The PPCRV announced through Manila-based media they have recruited a team of 250,000 to 300,000 volunteers across the country to actively monitor the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections.

Sulugan said non-partisan assistors help monitor observance of election rules and regulations by all voters and candidates regardless of their political affiliations.

She said their main role is to assist voters, especially first time voters, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, locate their assigned polling precincts so they can cast their votes. Sulugan added that PPCRV volunteers also report irregularities in the conduct of elections in a fair way. Watch this video for more information on this story.

So far as of 10a.m, she said, polling has been smooth except for some problems with a number of voters, notably SK first time voters, whose names were not listed in precincts or were told by the online precinct finder to be not in their records. The volunteers reported to the KCES by 6a.m. and were expected to be on duty up to the end of today’s polls. Along with independent bets, two groups contested for the barangay council and for the SK in Brgy. Kalasungay.   

She said candidates also had ample time to promote themselves and their platform during the campaign period. She noted that the campaign in Brgy. Kalasungay was very friendly and healthy.  

“Walay ingon ta nga dinautay sa isig ka kandito, (there were no mudslinging between each other),” she said.

But she stressed that it could have been better if local stakeholders organized a candidates’ forum where voters gather in one venue and listen to candidates from all parties, including the independent bets, to share about their platforms.

No such synchronous event for all candidates was held in the barangay, she added. 

“What happened was that they presented their platforms by party only,” she said, adding, no opportunity was given to everyone to speak in front.

The local Catholic Church tried to organize such forum, she said, but only two candidates appeared. She hoped for improved conduct of elections the next time around.

The Barangay and SK elections scheduled for May 2020 were initially postponed to December 2022 by a law passed in December 2019. However, in October 2022, another law canceled the election for October 2023. The Supreme Court later deemed this law unconstitutional, allowing the election to proceed as planned. Nonetheless, the winners will now serve until 2025, marking the shift to elections every three years starting that year.  (BukidnonNews.Net)

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