PANABO, Davao del Norte — The blistering heat notwithstanding, voters queued up at polling precincts in A.O. Floirendo Elementary School here on Monday for the midterm elections.
There are only 5 clustered precincts and 5 vote-counting machines for 10,490 registered voters of Barangay A.O. Floirendo that resulted in long hours of queueing under the hot sun.
Thousands were at the school ground as early as 6 a.m. There were no tents for shade, only a lone first-aid station that assisted people complaining dizziness.
“I came early so I can also go home early but this happened,” said Sherwin Calagyo in Visayan dialect while being treated. His blood pressure went up to 150/100 after 3 hours of waiting in sweltering weather.
“Despite the heat, I really wanted to vote. That’s my right,” insisted another patient Jainne Lapitan.
There are 301,507 registered voters in Davao del Norte who will choose leaders among 340 local candidates.
There are only two political parties competing in the province in this year's polls: Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) and Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). Both are in support of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The province has been part of Duterte’s apple of the eye, making it a big beneficiary of the government’s ambitious infrastructure programs.
One major project now underway is a high-level road-bridge project in Tagum City expected to improve inter-regional linkages between Regions X, XI, and XII.
Davao del Norte was among the Mindanao provinces that achieved high reduction rate of poverty, from 27.2 percent in 2015 to 14.5 percent last year, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Gigi Almusara said she voted for politicians who are already “tried and tested.”
For Eva Duca, braving the scorching heat is important in a bid to successfully elect those who deserve to govern the province.
“Sila ang sandigan, dapat sila ang botohan,” she said. “Ang gusto ko ‘yung nagpapakain sa amin.”
(They are the pillars, they should be elected. I like those who feed us.)