Close to 1.9 mil­lion Ne­grenses, over 300K Ba­colod­nons to vote to­day

Sun Star Bacolod - - Front Page - BY MERLINDA A. PEDROSA AND TERESA D. ELLERA

AROUND 312, 816 vot­ers in Bacolod City and close to 1.9 mil­lion vot­ers in Ne­gross Oc­ci­den­tal are ex­pected to troop to their polling precincts to­day from 6:00 A.M up to 6 P.M. to vote for the new set of lo­cal of­fi­cials, party list rep­re­sen­ta­tive and sen­a­tors.

Atty. Tic­tac Vil­lanueva, pro­vin­cial elec­tions su­per­vi­sor, said there were no ma­jor hitches dur­ing the fi­nal test­ing and seal­ing of the Vote Count­ing Ma­chines (VCM) and the Vot­ers Reg­is­tra­tion Ver­i­fi­ca­tion Ma­chines (VRVM) in the prov­ince and Bacolod City.

Vil­lanueva said Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal has a to­tal of 2,353 clus­tered precincts and 1,889,200 to­tal reg­is­tered vot­ers, the fourth largest vot­ing pop­u­la­tion in the Philip­pines.

Bacolod City has a to­tal of 353 clus­tered precincts and 45 vot­ing cen­ters.

Act­ing Bacolod elec­tion regis­trar Ann Janette Lam­ban said they are ex­pect­ing a peace­ful and or­derly elec­tion in Bacolod City and Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal.

“The vot­ers should vote wisely. Choose the right can­di­dates,” she said.

She added the vot­ers should have their own lists of can­di­dates to vote so they can fin­ish early.

Lam­ban noted the polling precincts will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. only.

“Hope­fully, our vot­ers will vote early and not to wait the clos­ing time,” Lam­ban said.

She said Com­elec de­ployed a help desk in all polling precincts to as­sists the vot­ers.

“Those who can­not find their names in the lists, they should ap­proach the help desk to lo­cate their names,” she added.

Records of the pro­vin­cial of­fice of the Com­mis­sion of Elec­tions (COM­ELEC) show there are 797 lo­cal can­di­dates vy­ing for lo­cal posts in the prov­ince’s 32 towns and cities, in­clud­ing Bacolod City.

Two can­di­dates are vy­ing for the post of gover­nor led by, in­cum­bent Vice Gover­nor Eu­ge­nio Jose Lac­son of the uni­fied Love Ne­gros and United Ne­gros Al­liance against in­de­pen­dent Rolando Parpa, while for­mer 4th dis­trict Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jef­frey Fer­rer is run­ning un­op­posed as vice gover­nor.

There are 11 can­di­dates for con­gress­man vy­ing for the seven con­gres­sional dis­tricts in the prov­ince in­clud­ing the lone dis­trict of Bacolod City.

There are 20 can­di­dates for pro­vin­cial board mem­bers; 74 for may­ors; 64- vice may­ors and the re­main­ing 675 run­ning for city and mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils.

Three out of seven can­di­dates for con­gres­sional seats in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal, in­clud­ing Bacolod City, are un­op­posed in the May 2019 elec­tions.

The sure win­ners are led by first-timer Jose Fran­cisco Ben­itez, pres­i­dent of Philip­pine Women’s Uni­ver­sity, who is run­ning for rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the third dis­trict to suc­ceed his el­der brother, Al­fredo Ben­itez, leader of Love Ne­gros, who is now in his third and last term.

The third dis­trict cov­ers the cities of Tal­isay, Si­lay, Vic­to­rias and the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of Mur­cia and E.B. Ma­ga­lona.

Also run­ning un­op­posed is Ma. Lour­des “Mar­ilou” Ar­royo-lesaca, sis­ter-in-law of House Speaker Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­galar­royo.

Ar­royo-lesaca, has served as Kasangga partylist rep­re­sen­ta­tive from 2007 to 2010.

The fifth dis­trict cov­ers Hi­ma­may­lan City and the towns of Hini­garan, Bi­nal­ba­gan, Is­abela, La Castel­lana and Moises Padilla.

In the sec­ond dis­trict, in­cum­bent Rep. Leo Rafael Cueva is also as­sured of a third and fi­nal term.

The 2nd dis­trict cov­ers the cities of Sa­gay and Cadiz and Manapla town.

In the first dis­trict, in­cum­bent Rep. Mele­cio Yap Jr. opted not to seek re­elec­tion, leav­ing the field wide open to San Car­los City Mayor Ger­ardo Val­mayor of Love-ne­gros as well as op­po­nents Ernesto Li­brando and Ro­mulo Guion.

In­cum­bent Fourth Dis­trict Rep. Juliet Marie Fer­rer, who is seek­ing a fresh man­date for a sec­ond term, will be chal­lenged by Ann Joan Len­ling and En­rique Erobas, while in the sixth dis­trict, for­mer vice gover­nor Ge­naro Al­varez Jr. is aim­ing a re­turn to Congress with Joaquin Bil­bao as chal­lenger.

In the lone dis­trict of Bacolod City, Rep. Greg Gasa­taya is chal­lenged by for­mer mayor Mon­ico Puentevell­a, who pre­vi­ously served as con­gress­man for three terms.

Bacolod City has the rich­est vot­ing pop­u­la­tion in the prov­ince, with 312,816.

First Dis­trict has 249,468 vot­ers; Sec­ond Dis­trict, 206,751 vot­ers; Third Dis­trict, 306,931 vot­ers; Fourth Dis­trict, 241,076 vot­ers; and Fifth Dis­trict, 277,004 vot­ers; and Sixth Dis­trict, 295,254 vot­ers.

The Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal Po­lice Pro­vin­cial Of­fice (NOPPO) has de­ployed 3,251 elec­tion se­cu­rity of­fi­cers.

The con­tin­gent in­cluded 1,477 of­fi­cers from Nocppo while the aug­men­ta­tion forces came from the Bacolod City Po­lice Of­fice or BCPO (166), Re­gional Per­son­nel Hold­ing and Ac­count­ing Unit or RPHAU (212), Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal Pro­vin­cial Mo­bile Force Com­pany or Nocpmfc (396), and Armed Forces of the Philip­pines (1,000).

The pro­vin­cial head­quar­ters also pro­vided 57 ve­hi­cles, 41 mo­tor­cy­cles, 2,874 long and short firearms, and 328 ra­dio com­mu­ni­ca­tion hand­sets.

Mean­while, Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd In­fantry Brigade com­man­der, said more than 300 soldiers were de­ployed in Moises Padilla town where nu­mer­ous check­points were put up and in neigh­bor­ing ar­eas.

Arevalo said they were also check­ing re­ported sight­ings of New Peo­ple’s Army (NPA) rebels in the area.

NPA rebels killed Coun­cilor Jolo­mar Hi­lario who barged at his res­i­dence on March 30.

Coun­cilor Michael Gar­cia and his un­cle Mark were killed in an am­bush in Barangay Ino­lin­gan on April 25.

The vic­tims were in a con­voy of ve­hi­cles with Vice Mayor Ella Ce­lestina Gar­cia-yulo, who is run­ning for mayor, when they were at­tacked. Yulo was un­hurt.

Moises Padilla is the third area placed un­der Com­elec con­trol amid elec­tion-re­lated killings af­ter Daraga in Al­bay and Cota­bato City.*

BCPO PHOTO

ELEC­TION. Po­lice Colonel Henry Biñas, of­fi­cer-in-charge of Bacolod City Po­lice Of­fice, vis­its can­vass­ing area and polling cen­ters in the city yes­ter­day as part of their se­cu­rity prepa­ra­tion for the 2019 Na­tional and Lo­cal Elec­tions.

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