The Philippine National Police (PNP) reported that the BARMM barangay elections and Sangguniang Kabataan on Monday, October 31, 2023, were generally peaceful nationwide, despite six deaths in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said that the violent election-related incidents for this election might surpass that of the previous polls, but that the police were able to respond immediately to most incidents and pacify them.
See related topic: 6 dead in poll violence in BARMM – Inquirer.net
Acorda added that there were no reports of any area declaring a failure of elections.
The PNP recorded a total of 35 validated election-related incidents (ERIs) for the elections as of Monday afternoon, while there were 191 other unvalidated incidents.
During the elections five years ago, 57 violent incidents, which killed at least 35 people and wounded 27 others, were reported from April 14 to May 18, 2018.
Despite the deployment of over 7,000 security personnel, the BARMM remained a hotspot for election-related violence, with six shooting incidents reported during voting hours, resulting in six deaths and 11 injuries.
In one incident, two supporters of a local candidate for village chair were killed in Bugawas village, Datu Sinsuat town, an hour before the official start of balloting. Local officials were forced to move the voting to a nearby barangay covered court.
In another incident, Samsoding Manalao Disumimba, 43, was killed when a firefight broke out between supporters of incumbent barangay captain Samena Abdul Latif Rascal and her challenger Soud Lumbak Palman less than a kilometer away from the village’s polling center in Bacolod, Lanao del Norte.
In Abra, where the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ordered the deployment of over 800 security personnel after nearly 300 teachers withdrew from their election duties, more police officers were sent to Tineg town due to a shooting incident.
In Cagayan province, police recorded a case of vote-buying at Cabaggan village in Pamplona town after the husband of a barangay captain aspirant allegedly distributed P1,000 cash to a couple who reported the incident.
In Angeles City, a commotion gripped the election in Malabanias village after supporters of a candidate for barangay captain reportedly barred 50 members of the indigenous group Badjao from entering a poll precinct.
Despite these isolated incidents, the PNP declared the barangay elections a success, with over 50 million Filipinos casting their votes to elect their new village leaders.
The generally peaceful conduct of the barangay elections is a positive sign for Philippine democracy. However, the six deaths in the BARMM are a reminder that election-related violence remains a serious problem in some parts of the country.
The Comelec and the PNP must continue to work together to ensure that future elections are free, fair, and safe for all Filipinos.