By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday started printing the more than 76,000 ballots for the September 22 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls in Marawi City.
The printing was supposed to start last month but was slightly delayed as the poll body was still negotiating with the National Printing Office (NPO) at that time.
Since the number of ballots to be printed will not be that many, Comelec and NPO officials expect the printing to be finished on the same day.
Once the ballots and election returns have been printed, it will undergo verification to be later submitted to the packing and shipping committee for deployment.
And with just over two weeks before Election Day, the Comelec said they are 95 percent ready in conducting the polls.
“Basically we are ready,” COMELEC Project Director for Marawi Elections Teopisto Elnas said in a press briefing at the NPO in Quezon City.
“Percentage wise we are 95 percent ready since we are just waiting for the printing of ERs and ballots to finish,” he added.
On Wednesday, the poll body also came out with a list of alternative voting centers, wherein voters from the barangays within the so-called “ground zero” will be casting their votes.
The five are the Multi-Purpose Hall in Area 4, Barangay Sagonsongan; Marawi Central Elementary Pilot School and Dansalan Integrated School in Area 2, Barangay Sagonsongan; Bito Elementary School in Barangay Bito Buadi Parba; Rorogagus Elementary School in Barangay Rorogagus Proper; and Caloocan Elementary School East District in Barangay Caloocan East.
The Comelec earlier said a total of 27 affected barangays with 15,096 registered voters are set to vote in the 51 clustered precincts in the five alternative voting centers.
According to Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez there were a total of 234 persons, who filed their Certificates of Candidacy (COC) for Barangay Chairman; while another 862 are running for Barangay Kagawad.
The poll official said there were also 162 COCs filed for SK Chairman, and another 193 looking to run for SK Kagawad.
To recall, the Commission En Banc on January 31, 2018 resolved to defer the barangay and SK polls in war-torn Marawi City, owing to prevailing conditions in the city, after the conduct of three public consultations in Mindanao whether or not to postpone said polls in the entirety of the region.