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Poll body notes low turnout of votes in plebiscite

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) said the rains that drenched Palawan in the morning of Saturday’s plebiscite may have contributed to a low turnout of voters than they had hoped or expected.

COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez also said that issue with transportation and distance also contributed to lesser number of voters than the expected figure on March 13.

“Noong umaraw ay lumabas din sila, so mataas ang interest ng taumbayan. It’s that dahil nga umuulan and hindi naman ganon kadali ang transportation dito in sa areas kung saan malayo ang lalakarin, hindi nakakagulat ang ‘yong ganon sitwasyon,” he said.

“Overall, if we were to rate the participativeness of the public, that would be a solid seven or eight,” he added.

Jimenez said that COMELEC is not after the minimum turn out and the plebiscite results will still be valid even with lesser number of voters.

He added that there are some areas with 54 percent turnout and others with an average or 36 or 37 percent. But the COMELEC can not say yet the overall voter turnout.

“Nevertheless, hindi naman tayo naghahabol ng minimum na turnout, magiging valid pa rin ang plebiscite results natin kahit kaunti lang ang bumoto,” he said.

Based on the COMELEC estimation, the completion of canvassing may take two to three days before the announcement of result.

The provincial board of canvassers will reconvene on Sunday at 2:00 pm due to delay and problem caused by weather condition that affected the transportation of returns coming from towns.

“Ang early assessment dahil hindi pa rin natin nakikita ang resulta o turnout, base sa monitoring na ating ginawa ay generally successful ang ating plebisito. Nakita na natin nagbukas lahat ng polling place, in one case sa Kalayaan, rather late pero tuloy-tuloy,” he said.

Kalayaan has experienced delay in delivery of supplies due to weather condition and the plebiscite started around 1:00 pm and closed at 5:00 pm.

“In general natapos nang maigi ang ating plebisito. Again, lahat ng presinto nagbukas, nag-operate. Ang naging issue talagang malaki ay ‘yong ating weather,” he said.

Jimenez said that the plebiscite of Palawan is also a good start as preparation for 2022 local and national elections, first election under pandemic time.

“Magandang simula ang Palawan but I would not say na automatically, guaranteed na everything will be perfect sa 2022. Tatrabahuin pa rin talaga yan because iba yong scale ng activity,” he said.

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