Ilocos Norte prepares for #Halalan2022 as Marcos Jr. is expected to vote in province

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 08 2022 08:30 PM

Local Brgy. watchmen stand guard at a voting precinct in Batac, Ilocos Norte a few days before Halalan 2022. May 7, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News.
Local Brgy. watchmen stand guard at a voting precinct in Batac, Ilocos Norte a few days before Halalan 2022. May 7, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News.

LAOAG - Election authorities in Ilocos Norte are making last-minute preparations for the 2022 National and Local Elections, as presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is expected to cast his vote in the province on Monday.

According to Ilocos Norte Provincial Election Officer Atty. Joel Gines, more than 80 percent of the province's 434,114 registered voters are expected to cast their ballots as it is a presidential election year. 

"Last 2016 82, 80 (percent) basta baka mas mataas ulit," he said, adding that voter turnout could be even higher because one of the candidates running for president, Bongbong Marcos, is from Ilocos Norte. 

Gines added that 822 Vote Counting Machines or VCMs were already deployed across the province, with 14 held in reserve. Authorities have already prepared a central technical hub in Laoag where staff could repair broken VCMs that could not be fixed at precincts. 

There are at least three areas of concern for Comelec officials, including the provincial capital Laoag due to scuffles between supporters of incumbent city councilor Roger John "RJ" Fariñas and incumbent Vice Mayor Vicentito "Toto" Lazo. 

Meanwhile, Bongbong Marcos is expected to vote in the city of Batac, the hometown of his father the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos. 

According to Batac Election Officer Joeann Perez, Bongbong and his mother Imelda will be given priority service that is afforded to other voting senior citizens. 

Perez said additional security personnel would also be deployed at the precinct where the Marcoses are expected to vote at. The added security is also to ensure safety since it is Batac's largest voting precinct, with 6,494 registered voters expected to cast their ballots there. 

"We hope for a peaceful election," Perez said. "Of course, prayers natin regarding the elections. Prayers change everything." 

Local barangay watchmen prepare an isolation polling place (IPP) where authorities would place voters with COVID-19 symptoms. May 7, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News.
Local barangay watchmen prepare an isolation polling place (IPP) where authorities would place voters with COVID-19 symptoms. May 7, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News.

Bongbong Marcos is currently the presidential candidate leading most pre-election surveys, and is running on campaign focused on unity, recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and refusal to engage in what his camp calls "negative campaigning." 

But his campaign has also been plagued with issues regarding his refusal to attend most major presidential debates, and alleged use of online trolls to whitewash the history of his father's brutal and corrupt rule. 

In downtown Laoag, market vendor Edwin Arcartado says he'll vote for Bongbong Marcos and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, as he expects both of them to enact multiple projects in Ilocos Norte. 

"Siguro marami namang ano, baka katulad din kanyang tatay na marami rin nagawa na gagawin dito sa ating bansa," Arcartado said. 

Another market vendor, Anna Mariano, says she wants Marcos to disprove allegations made against his family that their wealth was ill-gotten. She also wants the former senator to lower the prices of food and electricity. 

Mariano also hopes that, whatever the result of the election, people wouldn't let their personal feelings get them into conflict with other people. 

"Maging kalmado, at wag makikipag away-away. Kase iisang bansa naman po tayo," she said. "Dapat pare-parehas po at hindi po tayo (mag-away) para sa ikaka-angat ng ating bansa." 

Vendors sell trinkets to tourists at the Bangui Windmills in Ilocos Norte on May 7, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News.
Vendors sell trinkets to tourists at the Bangui Windmills in Ilocos Norte on May 7, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News.

Over at the Bangui Windmills north of Laoag, vendor Rosalinda Cariaga hopes that whoever the next president will be, they will help them build stalls that wouldn't be destroyed by typhoons. Stalls at the famous tourism attraction are usually made of wood, making them vulnerable to strong winds. 

"Dapat sana ma-improve dito sa tabi ng dagat namin," she said. "Meron kaming pwesto talaga na maganda na hindi magigiba, kahit konting puhunan para hindi kami nahihirapan."