• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Commission on Elections expects two million voters in Negros Occidental to cast their votes in the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections today, October 30.
Comelec records show that there are 29,640 candidates vying for various positions during the 2023 BSKE in the province.
Provincial Comelec supervisor Atty. Ian Lee Ananoria called for prayers for an honest, orderly, and peaceful elections in Negros Occidental, where 51 barangays have been tagged as election areas of concern.
Security forces in Negros Occidental have been placed under full alert status since last week.
Among the candidates in the province, a total of 1,611 are running for village chiefs in 662 barangays; 15,612 candidates have joined the race for barangay councilors, where 4,634 seats are available.
Data from the Comelec further showed there are 1,882 aspirants for the position of SK chairman, and 10,535 candidates are running for the position of SK kagawad.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson has called on candidates and supporters to help ensure that BSKE 2023 will be peaceful and orderly.
“Go out and vote and respect the results,” Lacson said.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Emergency Operations Center was also placed under red alert status on Oct. 28, in anticipation of any emergencies that may take place during today’s elections.
Mayor Raymund Tongson also wished for peaceful elections in Himamaylan City, where two of its hinterland barangays hosted several gun battles in the past several months.
Tongson, who celebrated his 50th birthday on October 20, called on candidates to “ensure the peaceful and undisturbed campaign period, up until the day of the polls.”
He also reminded barangay officials “to serve as good role models to the youth SK candidates and voters.”
“This is our chance to become good examples to our future leaders,” he pointed out.
Tongson added that the SK is “the training ground for the next leaders of Himamaylan.”*