The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in Western Visayas is encouraging voters from Barangay Inampulogan in the municipality of Sibunag to participate in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) on Oct. 30 after missing six barangay polls.

Lawyer Dennis Ausan, COMELEC regional director, said that as far as he can remember, Inampulogan — the biggest island village of Sibunag — has never participated in the barangay polls since the creation of the municipality on Feb. 20, 1995.

“It is the only barangay in the country with no elections in the past barangay elections, I can recall (that this is the situation) since the time Sibunag was created by the Local Government Code of 1991,” he said in an interview.

To date, the privately-owned island village has close to 200 eligible voting population.

“There is only one reason why there is no election — no one files their certificates of candidacy. In short, there are no candidates. How I wish this time around our electoral exercises will push through in that island barangay,” he said

Ausan said COMELEC has established voting centers in the area, but residents only exercise their right of suffrage during the national and midterm elections.

He said an electoral board has been created in the area and is even provided with supplies and funds every barangay election, which, in turn, remain unused since there are no polls due to the lack of candidates.

“If they want to run, our office is just there waiting for them to submit their certificate of candidacy. If they want. It is their right guaranteed by our Constitution,” he said.

Meanwhile, COMELEC has gathered BSKE aspirants from the city and the province of Iloilo on Wednesday, Aug. 9, for a forum to raise awareness of the rules and regulations for the upcoming polls.

Ausan said that except for some administrative policies that are more of an internal concern, the same laws govern the conduct of elections at the national and barangay levels.

“What we expect from them is that they will also do their part; they have their obligations and responsibilities to observe as to the prohibited acts,” he said.

From the start of the election period on Aug. 28 until Nov. 29, the gun ban and the prohibition on the transfer and detail of public officials and employees will be in effect.

There will also be regulations to be observed during the campaign period and on the election day.PNA