MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday said it is preparing for the first Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) voting of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.
In a Viber message, Comelec Chairperson George Erwin Garcia said there are 936 registered PDL voters at the NBP.
"Mag-submit po sa amin ang BuCor (Bureau of Correction) ng operation plan... Kasama na din po ang plan paano ang distribution ng campaign paraphernalia sa inmates (The BuCor will submit an operation plan to us. This includes the plan on the distribution of campaign paraphernalia to the inmates)," he said following the poll body’s coordination meeting with BuCor officials.
Garcia said they are expecting the initial operation plan from the BuCor by Sept. 8.
The Comelec said the plan covers security protocols during the voting process and measures for allowed observers,including members of the media, international observer groups and citizen's arm.
"Iyong 936 (PDLs) galing sa maximum, medium, at minimum security kaya po medyo mahirap ang planning (The 936 PDLs come from maximum, medium, and minimum security, that's why the planning is somehow difficult)," he said.
In an earlier interview, Garcia said Comelec will allow election campaigns for PDLs.
"Papayagan din namin ang pangangampanya ng atin pong mga kandidato subalit hindi sila mismo pupunta dun. Iiwan lang nila ang election paraphernalia sa BuCor (We will allow candidates to campaign, but they will not personally go there. Instead, they will leave their election paraphernalia for the BuCor's distribution)," he said.
Garcia said this is the first BSKE for PDLs following the Supreme Court's decision to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) in their participation in the local polls.
Meanwhile, the Comelec recorded a high figure of aspiring candidates for the Oct. 30 BSKE.
As of Tuesday 8:30 a.m., the Comelec's nationwide consolidated data show 1,414,487 aspiring candidates have filed their certificates of candidacy (COC).
They account for 96,962 aspiring barangay captains and 731,682 aspiring members of Sangguniang Barangay; and 92,774 aspiring SK chairpersons and 493,069 aspiring members of SK.
This year's data is higher than the 1,193,368 aspiring BSKE candidates recorded last May 2018. (PNA)