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Comelec chairman targets 75% voter turnout in BSKE

(UPDATE) COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Erwin Garcia is targettung at least a 75 percent turonout from the 91 million voters in the village (barangay) and youth (Sangguniang Kabataan) polls.

«This time, there is no reason for us not to vote as we have a long weekend vacation. Maybe most of them are already in their province for vacation, but they can also vote. And therefore, we are expecting an increase of voters this year,» Garcia said in a statement.

E-DAY — Filipino voters cast their ballots at polling precinct in Manila, Mandaluyong and Quezon City during the Barangay Sanguniang Kabataan Election (BSKE) on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023. Photos by Rene Dilan, Mike Alquinto and Ismael De Juan

He added that the turnout in the previous election was 70 and 71 percent in 2015 and 2019 resepectively.

The Comelec chairman said his office is also hoping that the Election Law setting voting hours from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Election (BSKE) be amended to 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Garcia also appealed to the public to extend their patience because of the long lines resulting from the casting of two ballots — one for the barangay and another for the SK.

Meanwhile, security forces were on high alert following months of deadly poll-related violence.

The latest is on Monday in Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguinsanao where two persons were killed and four others were injured in a shooting incident at about 6 a.m., hours before the opening of polls.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Benjamin Acorda Jr. said following the report, he ordered the prompt dispatch of additional forces to the area.

Acorda said election paraphernalia also has not arrived as he appealed for calm and reminded residents not to sell their votes.

The PNP recorded 17 vote buying incidents and subsequently filed appropriate charges against the offenders.

Based on reports, Acorda said vote buying was recorded in Regions 1 (Ilocos), 2 (Cagayan Valley), 3 (Central Luzon), 4A (Calabarzon), 6 (Western Visayas), 7 (Central Visayas), 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN), and National Capital Region (NCR).

More than 336,000 council positions are up for grabs in the long-delayed