Friday, October 3, 2014

Cabanatuan has 5,000 dead voters still in Comelec list

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – Dead voters might be able to “vote” in the 2016 synchronized national and local elections if taken advantage of by unscrupulous politicians unless the Commission on Elections does something about it.

          This after no less than 5,000 dead voters were found to be still in the voters list of the Comelec in the city which needs to be purged to ensure their names are not used in the coming polls.

          City election officer Leo Navarro said the deceased voters are now being removed from the list in the city’s 89 barangays. He said was a centenarian and 13 nonagenarians (aged 90 and above) who passed away between the period 2012 to 2014.

          “We are now in the process of verifying the list of dead voters and securing death certificates from relatives,” he said.

          Navarro said that the city civil registrar is also helping out identify the list of dead voters in the various barangays to help fast-track the cleansing process.

          The purging of the voters’ list is one of two major concerns of the Comelec which has also embarked on a barangay-based information campaign urging voters to update their records using the biometrics system eligibility requirement prescribed by law.

          Last month, the Nueva Ecija provincial office of the Comelec warned of a possible massive disenfranchisement of voters as more than 200,000 registered voters may lose their right to vote in the 2016 synchronized local and national elections over their failure to adopt the biometrics system.

          Lawyer Panfilo Doctor Jr., provincial election supervisor, said that based on latest records from the Commission on Elections provincial office, a total of 213,141 registered voters are still without or have incomplete biometrics and thus, are automatically disqualified to vote, representing  roughly 15 percent of the total number of registered voters in the province of 1,360,508.

          Of these, 63,116 voters are from this city or 27 percent of its total of 228,191.

          Navarro showed records of the dead in an initial 10 barangays namely Bagong Sikat, Bakero, Cruz Roja, Daang Sarile, Ibabao-bana, Lagare, Obrero, Pagas, Palagay and Talipapa.

In Palagay, centenarian Cesaria Catapu, is still in the list although she died on March 3,2013.

Others also in the list were Eufemia dela Cruz, 92, of Pagas who died on January 4; Matilde Reselva, 94, Agapito Suarez, 91, and Leonisa Maune, 93, who died on June 20,2012, December 8,2012 and September 3,2013, respectively, all of Daang Sarile; Tiburcio Aber, 90, Zenaida Estrella, 97, and Francisco Padua, 94, who died on February 3,2012, September 27,2012 and December 15,2013, respectively, all of Lagare;

Rufina Sangoyo, 90, (died May 3,2013) of Ibabao-bana; Catapu and Teodora Eugenio, 91 (died on August 17, 2012) of Palagay; Estanislao Azarcon, 93 and Alejandrina Hernandez, 94 (died on August 8,2012 and December 12, 2012, respectively) and Ambrocia Javillanar, 92 (died February 23,2012) of Cruz Roja).

The list showed there were 20 dead voters in Pagas, 33 in Lagare, 35 in Bagong sikat, 15 in Ibabao-bana, 16 in Talipapa, 22 in Palagay, 24 in Bakero, 39 in Cruz Roja and 10 in Obrero. (Manny Galvez)          

Legarda on the Big One: Preparedness Will Lessen Casualties, Damages

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today stressed that preparedness will save many lives and lessen damage to properties should the Big One, or the projected 7.2-magnitude earthquake, happens in Metro Manila.

Legarda renewed her call during the Senate hearing for the proposed 2015 budget of the Department of National Defense (DND).

In response, the DND said they have been preparing for the Big One, particularly through the identification of open spaces for evacuation, conduct of safety drills and readying troops to respond.

“It is very important that the DND has been preparing for the Big One, but it is equally important that our citizens are prepared as well so that we can effectively minimize casualties and damages. The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) could make it part of their mandate as well to actually engage people in preparedness for the Big Quake, which could happen anytime,” she explained.

The Senator reminded that the 2004 Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) warned of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila that may destroy 40% of residential buildings, damage 35% of all public buildings, cause 34,000 deaths, injure 114,000 individuals, and the ensuing fires may also result in 18,000 additional fatalities.

“We can prevent this scenario from happening, not only in Metro Manila but in all parts of the country, if all of us, the national government, local government units, private sector and citizens, are prepared. We will never get tired of regularly reminding everyone about disaster prevention and preparedness because as a nation vulnerable to earthquakes, typhoons and other natural hazards, preparedness is our greatest defense,” Legarda said.

Following the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Bohol last year, Legarda filed a Senate Resolution directing the government to conduct an earthquake risk audit over all government infrastructure projects and buildings to ensure that all public infrastructure can withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake, as mandated by law.

“Evaluation and retrofitting of public and private infrastructure is crucial in ensuring that buildings, bridges and other similar structures can withstand strong quakes; while the conduct of earthquake drills will enable our citizens to respond quickly and this will equip our people with knowledge of what to do before, during and after such disasters,” she said.

She added that among the priority steps that must be undertaken for earthquake preparedness include the establishment of an early warning system for earthquake and tsunami; determining open spaces for safe refuge; and crafting evacuation plans that would help citizens find out the fastest and safest way to reach open spaces and other safe areas.


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