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Voter drive 'new dawn' for Muslim region

Voter list nullified after 300,000 counts of fraud found

  • Ali Macabalang, Cotabato City
  • Philippines
  • July 9, 2012
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Eligible citizens in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) started re-registering to vote on Monday, after the region's voter list was nullified by Congress last month.

The Muslim region was the center of massive alleged voter fraud during the 2007 senatorial elections, and a review by the election commission revealed more than 300,000 multiple registrants in the region out of the 1.8 million eligible voters.

Henrietta De Villa, chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and former ambassador to the Vatican, described the process as a “new dawn” for the region.

She urged stakeholders to help preserve the sanctity of reform intended for the 10-day registration period by observing the policy of “one thumbprint, one registration, one vote” in electoral processes.

The election commission authorized the PPCRV to act as a watchdog for the process. By law, the PPCRV can conduct a house-to-house canvass of registrants as well as a registration drive.

After a PPCRV volunteer was assaulted in Maguindanao province Sunday, De Villa urged field volunteers to keep up their courage to help shape an ideal electoral system. Hundreds of coordinators and volunteers are covering the region’s five provinces and two cities.

The victim, Sarah Kaharudin of Barira, was attacked after she refused to give four women volunteers’ accreditation cards.

De Villa said she has asked the local police to secure volunteers in the field.

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