Elections in Malolos, Bulacan ‘very peaceful, smooth’


Despite long queues of voters and a report of a faulty vote-counting machine (VCM), the May 9 elections here at the Barasoain Memorial Integrated School (BMIS) turned out to be “very peaceful” and “very smooth.”

Department of Education supervisor officer (DESO) Marco Rhonel Eusebio said voting in BMIS’ clustered precinct 130 was interrupted for about two hours after its VCM malfunctioned.

The VCM glitch, however, has been resolved, Eusebio said.

“Na-resolve na. Actually, dumating ‘yung replacement machine between an hour or two from the incident na ayaw tanggapin ‘yung balot ng isang voter (It has already been resolved. The machine (defective VCM) was replaced between an hour or two after the incident wherein a voter could not feed the ballot into the machine),” Eusebio told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

The Commission on Elections reported that around 2,000 VCMs had malfunctioned at the start of the elections.

No poll-related violence, reports of sick voters

As of press time, there are no reported incidents of election-related violence at the BMIS, Eusebio said.

“[The elections are] very peaceful, very smooth saka (and) it’s the way we imagine it would be,” he said.

DESO Nelita Aguinaldo was also thankful that voters who flocked to the BMIS to cast their vote are not exhibiting any symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Aguinaldo also ensured that health protocols are in place to ensure the voters’ safety.

Voters’ temperatures were being checked before they could go inside the school premises.

“So far, wala naman kaming na-experience na may mga matataas na temperature kasi meron tayong thermal scanners diyan sa gate pa lang tapos merong tayong health officers na tumitingin (we have not monitored any voters with high temperature. We have thermal scanners placed at the gate. Health officers are checking the voters’ temperature),” Aguinaldo said.

A thermal scanner was also placed at the exit of the BMIS.

Voters with Covid-19 symptoms or who are not feeling well are allowed to cast their votes at an isolation polling place.

Hope for change, bright future

Apart from the threat of the Covid-19 to public health, voters had to endure the long lines and hot weather.

Now that the Covid-19 protocols have been relaxed, some voters also opted to bring with them their children.

Victoria Aldaba, 77, was elated that the May 9 elections were organized, adding that she is not afraid to cast her vote despite the pandemic because she has full protection against the Covid-19.

“[Poll workers are] accommodating,” Aldaba said. “Meron silang (They have) designated places for seniors. The Covid-19 pandemic is not a hindrance to casting my vote because I am already fully vaccinated na rin ako and at least sumunod ka sa protocol (and we also have to follow the protocols).”

Jose Ramil Malto, a person with disability, expressed optimism that the country’s next leader is compassionate and patriotic.

“May gusto akong maupo na totoo talagang may malasakit at pagmamahal sa bayan at sa mga tao (I want the next leader to be compassionate and has love of country),” Malto, 54, said.

Zenaida Sumagui, a mother of three, expressed hope that those who would win this year’s elections will give the Filipino people, especially the youth, a bright future.

Vivian Tan, 28, also hoped that there would be no cheating in elections.

“Okay naman ‘yung botohan ngayon. Sana walang dayaang mangyari (The conduct of elections is orderly. I hope there would be no cheating),” she said.

Voters still have until 7 p.m. to cast their votes.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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