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Comelec activates command center for barangay polls

MANILA, Philippines — To monitor all election-related activities as well as possible irregularities, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has activated a command and operations center for Monday’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE).

Comelec Chairman George Garcia said the Comelec Command and Operations Center will be open 24/7 starting on Saturday.

He said the center will oversee all activities related to the BSKE – from the distribution of paraphernalia, payment of honoraria to teachers, and proclamation of winning candidates. The center will also receive and refer to the appropriate department complaints of vote buying and other irregularities.

Aside from Comelec staff, Garcia said, there will also be Department of Education (DepEd) and Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel manning the center as well as representatives of election watchdog groups.

Vice President Sara Duterte visited the Comelec’s main office in Intramuros on Wednesday morning to check on the operations of the center. Garcia said Duterte requested the Comelec to look after the DepEd personnel who will be deployed to man it.

The poll chief said the center would be deactivated only after the last winning BSKE candidates have been proclaimed by Tuesday.

Candidates in the Oct. 30 BSKE only have until tomorrow to campaign, Garcia said, as he reminded all candidates to observe the end of the campaign period. “On Sunday, campaigning is no longer allowed. We have one day to rest, to think it over with our countrymen on who to vote for,” Garcia said.

Garcia said Comelec will not cease from removing illegally posted campaign materials until Sunday. The liquor ban shall also be in force starting Sunday night until election day.

On election day, he said voters can bring a list of the candidates they will vote for but they cannot take pictures of the ballot. Voters, he said, are not required to bring identification cards.

The Comelec has so far filed disqualification complaints against 186 BSKE candidates for premature campaigning, and six others for illegal campaigning.

Police units across the country are on full alert status starting today,

PNP public information officer Col. Jean