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More or less half a million Palaweños will decide on May 11 whether to allow dividing the island into three provinces or not.
Based on the final list of registered voters of Comelec-Palawan, around 490,639 registered voters may vote in the upcoming plebiscite, barely three months from now.
The list of voters was approved by the Comelec en Banc, through an Election Registration Board (ERB) Hearing held last Oct. 14, 2019, after being recommended by the Comelec-Election and Barangay Affairs Department (EBAD).
“Mas mabilis itong matatapos, dahil [mahigit] 400,000 lang ang boboto. Baka 1:00 PM tapos na [ang plebesito]. After ng voting niyan, doon sa presinto, magka-counting tapos ‘yung result sa precinct level, ibibigay sa Barangay Board of Canvassers,” Comelec-Palawan designated Information Officer Jomel Ordas said during the “Kapihan sa PIA” yesterday, Feb. 13, 2020.
In the list of overall registered voters in province, a total of 244,528 come from the First Legislative District in the north, 220,871 from the Second Legislative District or in the south and 25,240 (Aborlan) from the Third Legislative District. The smallest figure is 281 from the Municipality of Kalayaan in West Philippine Sea (WPS).
The Top 5 municipalities of Palawan that have the biggest number of registered voters are Bataraza with 48,491 voters, Taytay-40,734, Brooke’s Point-39,933, Narra-36,727, and Roxas-36,715.
And there are 1,524 total clustered precincts in 466 polling centers all over Palawan. This means that this is the number of rooms where voters vote in Plebiscite Day and the number of ballot boxes to be allocated.
Also, instead of the Board of Election Inspector (BEI), the Plebiscite Committee will be assigned to the plebiscite day. The Committee will be composed of three persons who will oversee the 1,524 Clustered precincts.
The spokesperson of Provincial Comelec likewise reiterated that Sec. 54 of the Republic Act No. 11259, the Act that was approved for the conduct of plebiscite in Palawan, excluded the City of Puerto Princesa to join in the said decision-making; although there is still an ongoing petition in the Supreme Court (SC) regarding the issue.
“Anu’t anuman, sa part ng Comelec, kami, anuman ang maging desisyon ng Supreme Court, halimbawa, sasabihin nila, ‘Isama ninyo ang Puerto Princesa,’ walang problema sa amin. Kami naka-ready na,” Ordas assured the Palaweño when asked by a media practitioner if in case, that possibility happens. He also added that the City has already “Project of precincts (POP)” about their total number of voters, the number of established precincts and clustered precincts and polling centers.
The local Comelec further said that they are still waiting for the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR’s) for Gun Ban, plebiscite Committee, and Campaign Period, among others from the central office.
The public information officer said that approximately it is expected to be released on the last week of February or in early March.
The Provincial Comelec also does not yet know on the content of the form and the steps they will be doing if there is a tie of votes.
In Comelec’s guidelines, the plebiscite, just like any other elections, will start at 7:00 O’clock in the morning and will end at 3:00 O’clock in the afternoon. The counting of votes can be started right after.
The Municipal Board of Canvassers, on Plebiscite Day, will convene at 6:00 O’clock in the evening while the Provincial Board of Canvassers will convene at the Provincial Session Hall in Capitol Complex, Puerto Princesa City.