Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Friday, June 6, 2008

ARMM polls to push through on Aug. 11

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has said polls in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will push through despite threats of boycott from a Moro rebel group.

“Comelec is bent on pushing through with the elections. It is needed for the stability of the region so it could not be called off,” Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said Thursday.

He said preparations for the August 11 ARMM elections were in the “advanced stage.”

On Monday, the Moro-Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) called on its supporters to stay away from the balloting as part of the secessionist group’s policy of “non-recognition, non-participation” in any government proceedings.

Sarmiento said the poll body was taking the threat lightly and would not be daunted by it. “As Chairman Jose Melo has assured, we will not let the nation down in the holding of the ARMM elections on August 11, which will serve as the dry-run for automated polls in 2010,” Sarmiento added.

The Comelec is set to hold in the ARMM the country’s first automated election by using two new technologies, the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) and the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE). The OMR requires voters to fill-out paper ballots which will be fed into a specially-designed machine similar to a scanner. It will be used in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, and Shariff Kabunsuan.

The DRE, on the other hand, is fully automated and makes use of touch-pads and touch screen technologies. It will be used in Maguindanao.

Sarmiento is the commissioner-in-charge for the elections in Sulu and Tawi-tawi. He took charge of Sulu after Commissioner Romeo Brawner, originally assigned to the province, died last week.

Sarmiento is scheduled to attend a command conference with officials of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Tawi-tawi on July 7 and in Sulu on July 8.

The ARMM, which has some 1.6 million registered voters, is set to elect one governor, one vice governor and three district legislative members for each of the 10 districts in the region.(Katherine Evangelista; INQ.net)

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