Comelec pilots separate polls for Mangyans in Mindoro

CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro, Apr. 25 (PIA) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is piloting the setting up of separate polling places (SPP) under its Indigenous Peoples Voting (IPV) in the Mindoro provinces for the May 9 election.

The IPV, which was launched today in Calapan City, addresses special needs of the IPs and issues on accessibility of polling places, harassments, illiteracy and discrimination experienced by them during elections. This was emphasized by Atty. April Rose S. Mabanes of Comelec Central Office In this morning’s briefing presentation.

The IPV project is a first in the country with two Mindoro provinces as pilot areas due to the presence of eight tribes or groups of Mangyans. At present, there are 8,917 Mangyans in Oriental Mindoro and 11,357 of them living in Occidental Mindoro.

Of the total Mangyan population, only 1,413 and 1,470 are registered voters in Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro respectively.

In his speech, Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito F. Guia said that the IPV project empowers the IPs to participate in the electoral process and choose their own leaders without threats or fears from the non-IP people or lowlanders. He also said that this project, if successfull, will be replicated in other parts of the country where there are significant IP population.

Under the IPV, 18 separate polling places (SPP) and 5 accessible voting centers (AVC) are to be set up in the two Mindoro provinces that will serve only IPs in 14 Barangay in Oriental Mindoro and 7 barangay in Occidental Mindoro. SPP is a special area within established voting center where only qualified IP voters will be allowed to vote. On the other hand, AVC is a new voting center which will be established by Comelec near the IP communities.

On the part of safety and security, Col. Gavin D. Edjawan, commander of the 203rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army committed their full support and cooperation for the conduct of safe and peaceful elections in the two provinces of Mindoro through their collaboration with the Philippine National Police. (LTC/PIA-Mimaropa/Calapan)

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