Lagawe, Ifugao – According to Makabayan Ifugao, traditional politics along with technical errors resulted to a dirty election with unreliable results in 2016.
Makabayan Ifugao reported that vote buying is still prevalent throughout the entire province. They noted vote buying in many barangays, especially where poverty is rampant or food is scarce due to the effects of climate change, vote buying.
The group said congressional and governor candidates were giving as much as p1500 per person or as much as p6000 per family. While as much as p100 per head were given from a losing candidate for Vice Governor.
While in small groups, traditional politicians give 2×2 or 4×4 bottles of gin, and for larger groups, chickens and pigs are butchered in hopes to win over votes.
“Mobilization fund” were given to “volunteers” to help get votes out, while poll-watchers were also reported to get as much as p2000 for the day.
In the Party list race, ANAC-IP, a party list with a track record of zero congressional bills, became the number one party list in Ifugao. ANAC-IP was able to pad on an additional 4,000 votes from the previous election with more than 20,000 votes in the province through vote buying, giving funds to politicians, and promises of scholarships.
Makabayan Ifugao said that many politicians did not have platforms or programs presented to the people and instead relied on their deep pockets, resources, machinery, charm and personality.
The group noted people vote based on who gives the highest amount as if elections are to be won by politician with the most money to give.
There are 112,328 registered voters in Ifugao with only 93,433 ballots officially counted. It suggests either 19,000 voters did not vote, votes were invalidated or voters were not counted.
Makabayan encountered several problems with the Vote Counting Machine (VCM) during the poll watch.
In the municipality of Lagawe, brgy Tungngod, the VCM had problems safe guarding the ballots casted while in brgy Caba there was a defect with the machine. One ballot was invalidated when it jammed and was torn when retrieved.
Problems with VCM issuing receipts also cropped up in Lagawe, brgy Burnay, in the municipality of Hingyon, brgy O-ong and in the municipality of Kiangan, in upper Tuplac.
In the municipality of Banaue, in brgy Amganad, there were two VCM that malfunctioned, while in brgy Poblacion, three VCM malfunctioned.
In Banaue, in brgy Amganad, there was a brownout that lasted over two hours.
In Lagawe, brgy Cudog, Caba, and Tungngod had problems transmitting election results due to weak or unstable signal.
The same transmission problem also occurred in Banaue, brgy Amganad and in Tinoc, brgy Tucucan.
Zero Votes in “Mysterious” Elections
After the municipality of Lagawe, Lamut, and Alfonso Lista transmitted their election results, the compact disk (CD) was unable to display the accurate votes garnered in the Congressman, Governor, and Vice-Governor’s race.
“For a lack of the technical explanation, let’s call it a technical problem”, Atty. Nicasio S. Jacob, Provincial Election Supervisor and the Chairman of the Provincial Board of Canvassers said.
The technical problem resulted to zero votes for all candidates in the three provincial race in the three municipalities.
“Each election is getting more mysterious”, joked Atty. Joseph Tumapang, the Provincial Prosecutor and Vice-Chair of the Provincial Board of Canvassers.
Former governor Atty. Eugene M. Balitang, was in the lead because of the technical problem until Manila technicians were able to assist the Comelec in fixing the technical error. Vice governor Atty Pedro Mayam-o was eventually declared the winner of the Governor race.
It is not the fault of the voters to take money especially during times of economic hardship. However, it is a challenge for the Ifugao people to assert their collective efforts to ensure the delivery of basic social services that will bring sustainable development among Ifugao families.
Makabayan insists that without arousing, organizing, and mobilizing the people, the same cycle of the rich controlling elections will just repeat. For Makabayan, advancing the politics of change by eliminating traditional patronage politics is a grassroots education campaign. The group said people have everything to gain if people vote based on platforms and programs that would benefit the majority while the rich and contractors have everything to fear. ### Brandon Lee