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Village, SK polls today

A POLLING precinct at the Flora A. Ylagan High School in Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City is all set for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections today. (Mb photo | Alvin Kasiban)

A POLLING precinct at the Flora A. Ylagan High School in Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City is all set for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections today. (Mb photo | Alvin Kasiban)

Postponed twice, the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls will finally be held today with millions of voters expected to troop to the different polling precincts nationwide as early as 7 a.m. to cast their vote.

Up for grabs are 671,168 seats – 41,948 for barangay chairmen and 293,636 for barangay council and the same number for SK chairman and SK kagawad.

A voter will choose one barangay chairperson and seven barangay kagawads. An SK voter will elect one chairman and seven kagawads.

Voters aged 18 to 30 will receive both the ballot for barangay and SK polls.

Data from the Commission on Elections revealed that there are 78,002,561 registered voters, 20,626,329 for the SK and 57,376,232 voters for the barangay.

With millions of voters expected to vote and the scorching summer heat, the Comelec advised the public to be prepared before going to polling centers.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said voters should bring water to keep them hydrated while they wait for their turn to vote.

“In some cases, they will fall in line under the heat of the Sun, so it’s going to be quite difficult,” he said. “Bring water. Dehydration, especially in the summer months, is a very real possibility.”

Classrooms which serve as polling precincts are only equipped with electric fans and some are not even properly ventilated.

Voters were also advised to bring umbrella and fans as well as wear protective clothing and sunscreen.

Senators have urged the public to exercise their right to vote and participate in today’s elections.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III appealed to voters to give the barangay elections the same importance as national polls and told them to choose their village leaders wisely.

“Ito yung aking payo sa lahat. Palaging gamitin ang kukote. Kahit barangay level, ‘yan ang pinakamalapit na level sa ating komunidad,” Pimentel said in a radio interview.

“Bigyan natin ng importansya ang level ng barangay government at pag-isipang mabuti ang mga pipiliing lider natin. ‘Yung alam ang dapat nilang gawin,” he added.

Saying every vote counts, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting urged Filipinos to go out and vote.

“Be sure to vote because there are many tie votes in the barangay and SK elections so that one vote counts,” PPCRV chairperson Rene Sarmiento.

He added that boycott, forgetfulness, laziness, or other commitments should be out of the question on Election Day.

Sarmiento asked the electorate to be wise in choosing their candidates. The former poll commissioner said voters should consider bets that are approachable, has leadership qualities, public servants, pro-God, and makes time for constituents.

“For grassroots democracy to be robust, let us choose out leaders wisely,” said Sarmiento.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas reminded the faithful to vote not only as Filipinos but as Catholic believers.

“Our citizenship and our faith must go together in our decision making for whom to vote as barangay leaders,” he said in a pastoral letter read in his archdiocese yesterday. (Leslie Ann G. Aquino and Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola)

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