Remote island voters of 200 all set for polls
This, after its sole vote counting machine (VCM) and two Commission on Elections (Comelec) personnel, tasked to supervise the polls were transported to the island via the Air Force’s C-295 medium transport aircraft on Thursday. Lilibeth Ustare, Election Officer II, in an interview with the Philippine News Agency, said she was not anticipating any problem or trouble during the election. However, Ustare said, she was not taking any chance, reason they brought with them an extra VCM should the lone machine assigned to the municipality suffer from some technical difficulties on election day. She said it was her first time on Pag-asa Island as she used to be the election officer of Cagayancillo town, the nearest settlement to the Tubbataha National Marine Park. On her arrival in Pag-asa Island, the first order of business for Ustare and her lone administrative aide was to supervise the inspection and testing of the VCM, which was done by the election board. Watching on the sidelines were Comelec commissioners Al Parreño, Antonio Kho, and Luie Tito Guia. In a nutshell, the VCM was activated after the election board entered their designated codes in the machine. To test if the machine was operational, 10 island residents were called in to take part in the voting dry-run, where nine out of 10 participants successfully cast their votes. One ballot was considered invalid. After these tests, the VCM was sealed, to be opened for Monday’s elections. And like any other precinct in the Philippines, voting in the municipality of Kalayaan will start at 6 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. On election day, Pag-asa residents will elect the provincial governor, vice governor, provincial board members, and district representative; the town mayor, vice mayor, and members of the municipal council of Kalayaan; and national candidates for senators and party-list groups. The mayoral seat of the Kalayaan Island Group is being contested by independent candidate and incumbent Roberto del Mundo, a retired Air Force officer, and former Navy commander, Rodrigo Jaca.