MANILA, Philippines - Before deciding whether to postpone the barangay polls in Zamboanga City, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will have to consider three factors: presence of hostile armed groups, physical state of voting centers, and condition of displaced voters.
Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia spelled this out when asked what would it take for the poll body to postpone the barangay elections in Zamboanga City, which was still reeling from violence perpetrated by the Nur Misuari faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
The military declared yesterday the end of its clearing operations in the province.
“What will compromise orderly and honest elections? Of course the presence of armed groups. That is a significant factor to consider if your are holding an election,” he said.
The Comelec said it would decide next week if it would push through with the Oct. 28 polls in barangays Santa Catalina, Santa Barbara, Rio Hondo, Mampang and Talon-talong, which have more than 45,000 voters.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. earlier said that some barangays not directly affected by the gunfights had been turned into evacuation centers. This made the poll chief consider postponing the elections in the entire city.
Guia said they are still checking the availability of classrooms for use as polling centers as well as their physical condition.