Comelec reminds SoCot House bets to comply with poll rules

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GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Region 12 reminded aspirants vying for South Cotabato’s first and third legislative district seats to strictly comply with all election-related regulations in the Oct. 26 special polls.

Lawyer Michael Abas, Comelec-South Cotabato supervisor, issued the reminder as the 45-day campaign period for the elections in the newly-reconfigured districts formally started on Wednesday.

Abas said the systems and procedures set for the May 13 local and national midterm elections are being observed in line with the polls.

“We adopted all resolutions and other related measures as set by the central office,” he said in an interview over a local television station.

Abas said they will monitor the candidates’ campaign activities, especially the compliance to the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code and the Fair Election Act.

These include the use of acceptable campaign materials, which should not exceed two feet by three feet in size, and their posting in areas designated by the local election offices as common poster areas.

Four aspirants are vying for South Cotabato’s third district (General Santos City).

These are former City Vice Mayor Shirlyn Banas-Nograles of the People’s Champ Movement, former South Cotabato (1st District) Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. of the Achiever’s with Integrity Movement, and independents Benjie Rivera and Abelardo Plaza.

Former Polomolok mayor and South Cotabato board member Isidro Lumayag is running unopposed in the first district.

Lawyer Jay Gerada, Comelec-South Cotabato supervisor, said their preparations are ongoing for the conduct of the automated district elections.

Gerada said they already conducted the initial security command conference with the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of Education.

“We already have a blueprint from the May elections so we’re only doing minor adjustments,” he told reporters.

He said the AFP and PNP have already identified personnel who will be assigned for election duties.

As to the teachers who will serve as members of the election board and other support duties, Gerada said they will undergo refresher activities in the coming weeks.

He said most of them are still familiar with the procedures used in the May elections as well as with the use of the Vote Counting Machines (VCM).

“We’re currently waiting for the arrival of the VCMs from Manila,” he said.

The campaign period will end on Oct. 24, two days before the special elections.

Data from Comelec-Region 12 showed that the city has a total of 301,106 registered voters, 341 clustered precincts and 55 voting centers.

The first district towns of Tampakan, Polomolok, and Tupi have a combined 171,431 eligible voters, 219 clustered precincts and 70 voting centers.-PNA

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