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DAY 24: CONGEN HAPPY WITH POLL CONDUCT DESPITE LOWER-THAN-EXPECTED TURNOUT

03 May 2016

Consul General Bernardita Catalla
A total of 3,627 voted on May 2 in the 2016 Philippine general elections being held at the Bayanihan Centre in Kennedy Town, as Filipinos took advantage of the holiday to cast their ballots.
The tally for 24 days of the month-long overseas voting in Hong Kong rose to 35,655, translating to a turnout of 38.3%. The total number of registered voters here is more than 93,000.
With just a full week of voting left, Consulate officials look hard-pressed to reach their target of a 50% turnout for this year’s elections but do not seem overly concerned.
Consul General Bernardita Catalla said she was satisfied with conduct of the elections, citing the nearly 9,000 people who voted in the past two days alone.
Catalla said election officials were even helping those who were not on the voters list so that they could vote. She cited one voter who waited for a long time but was not on the Hong Kong list of active voters.
“We found out she was active in Singapore,” so the election secretariat contacted the Commission on Elections in Manila and the woman was allowed to vote, Catalla said.
She said a new policy of the Comelec was to allow an active voter in an overseas location who has moved to another place abroad to vote there.
Catalla kept up the call for more Filipinos to vote, and vote wisely.
Congen Catalla assists a voter
“We’ve been urging people to come out and vote because this is the life of our nation, it is part of decision-making. Ngayon, kung yung mga pinili natin ay hindi karapat-dapat, aisisihin tayo ng mga generations after us, kung maayos, pasasalamatan tayo,” Catalla said.
Would-be voters came in small groups just minutes before the closing of the polls, but were allowed to vote because they were already in the Bayanihan grounds when the cut-off came.
Vice Consul Alex Vallespin, who oversees the election, said there were two reports of ballot receipt misprints on May 2, but in both cases, the voters refused to file a formal complaint.


In the first incident in Room 502, a woman complained to the special board of election inspectors that the vote counting machine did not print out the names of her choices for president and vice president.
However, she later admitted that she failed to properly shade the circles corresponding to her candidates. She declined to file an affidavit about the problem.
The second incident, at around mid-afternoon, involved a woman who made a scene in room 501 because her voting receipt allegedly bore the name of Alma Moreno instead of her chosen senator.
Vallespin suggested that she file an affidavit     but the woman              refused, saying that her president and vice president came out right anyway. She also said the “chair” was waiting to broadcast it on social media.
About 40 other would be voters were unable to cast their ballots as their registration had been deactivated over their failure to vote in at least two consecutive elections.
However, about 70 others whose names were not in the list but had registered last year were allowed to vote. – Vir B. Lumicao





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