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Time to vote: All systems go for BSKE

MANILA, Philippines — All roads lead to polling precincts today with the scheduled barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) pushing through nationwide.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia said the poll body is 100 percent ready for the conduct of elections, including in barangays declared as “hotspots.”

Voters can cast their votes starting at 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.

“There is no failure of election, we will proceed with the election at all cost,” Garcia yesterday said in a mix of Filipino and English, as he assured voters that the Comelec is always ready to find ways to allow every eligible citizen to exercise the right to suffrage.

“The vacation period is long, which means people can go home and, hopefully, are able to vote,” he added.

Garcia said all ballots and other necessary election paraphernalia have been delivered to the provinces. Early deliveries of election paraphernalia to polling precincts in island municipalities began Sunday.

Comelec spokesman John Rex Laudiangco reported that there are over 91 million voters, while a total of 672,016 positions are to be contested for the BSKE.

According to Garcia, 365 areas nationwide are classified as being in the “red category,” but sufficient police personnel have been deployed to these areas where the Comelec is prepared to hold the elections.

The election hotspot list has four categories: Green, yellow, orange and red.

Green means the area is generally peaceful; yellow means the area has an intense political rivalry and a history of election-related violence in the past two elections; orange means serious armed threat posed by communist and Moro rebels, while red has combined factors from the yellow and orange categories ­– which may warrant the motu proprio declaration of Comelec control.

The Comelec has recorded the lowest ever number of election-related violence, with only 25 incidents since the start of the election period.

Garcia said they have received numerous reports of vote buying, though a number turned out to be fake upon verification.

For the first time, Garcia said, the Comelec has put up a command and operations center to monitor all election-related activities,