1,530 candidates woo voters in Region XII for 565 electoral posts

The election period is now peaking with only seven (7) more days to go before we troop to the polling places to cast our votes that would determine our next leaders for the next three years. We can now hear political advertisements and jingles from our television sets, radios and from the loud speakers of the campaigners. We can now see political flyers, leaflets and posters in different colors and sizes plastered almost everywhere bannering all sorts of promises and gimmicks.

The candidates scamper even to the remotest areas wooing the electorates to vote for them.  In Region XII, there are a total of 1,867,539 registered voters as of April 28, 2004.1  Cotabato Province has the biggest number of registered voters accounting for 29.8 percent of the total registered voters in the region.  South Cotabato, excluding General Santos City, accounts for 20.2 percent, Sultan Kudarat has the 18.4 percent, while Sarangani Province has 11.9 percent. General Santos City is capable of delivering a quarter of a million votes representing 13.4 percent of the region's registered voters. Cotabato city, on the other hand, accounts for 6.3 percent.


Source of basic data: Commission on Elections (www.comelec.gov.ph)

For this year's election, a total of 1,530 candidates are contesting for the 565 electoral posts in the region from the congressional seats down to the municipal council posts. Twenty (20) candidates are aspiring for the seven (7) congressional seats in the region. Fourteen (14) hopefuls are aiming for the top provincial posts of the four (4) provinces of the region. The five (5) city mayoral posts are being contested by 19 candidates, 12 are aiming for the vice mayoral posts while 133 others are hoping to get one of the 50 seats in the city councils. In the municipalities, 131 candidates are gunning for the 45 mayoral posts, 108 vie for the vice mayoral seats and 1,008 others contest for the 360 council seats in various municipalities.

Electoral Positions Number of
Positions
Number of
Candidates
Congressman                7               20
Governor                4               14
Vice Governor                4                7
Board Member               40               78
City Mayor                5               19
City Vice Mayor                5               12
City Councilor               50             133
Municipal Mayor               45             131
Municipal Vice Mayor               45             108
Municipal Councilor             360          1,008

A resident in the highly urbanized cities like Cotabato and General Santos will vote for a congressman, a city mayor, a vice mayor and ten (10) council members.  In addition to these positions, residents in the component cities of Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan will still have to vote for a governor, a vice governor and board members (varies from every district) of the province where their city belongs.   On the other hand, those residing in the municipalities will vote for a congressman, a governor, a vice governor, board members (varies from every district), a municipal mayor, a municipal vice mayor and eight municipal councilors.  These are in addition to the twelve (12) senatorial candidates and party list group we have to vote for the national level.

With this long list of posts we need to fill in, it is suggested that each voter should prepare the list of candidates he wishes to vote before going to the poll centers.  And in case you don't know your assigned precinct, you can use the COMELECTXT 2898 service offered by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)  (www.bagongbotante.com/comelectxt.html). Here's how to do it:

For PRECINCT inquiries, type:

      COMELECTXT (SPACE) PRECINCT (SPACE) FIRST NAME/MIDDLE
      NAME/LASTNAME/BIRTHDATE


         Sample: Comelectxt precinct juan/santos/de la cruz/010189

Then send to 2898. (All messages cost P2.50 for Globe and Smart; P2.00
for Sun Cellular users)

You can also visit the website of the COMELEC at www.comelec.gov.ph for more details on the forthcoming electoral exercises.

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1/ - From the COMELEC website (www.comelec.gov.ph); still waiting for the reply from COMELEC re request for latest official figures.