2016 Philippine National Election : Festive and Colorful

Juan Luna Elementary School ,  830 G. Tolentino Street,  Barangay 397, Sampaloc, Manila-Philippines

traffic is light along Nicanor Reyes Sr. Street ( Morayta ) and Lerma street intersection

I am a voter at  Juan Luna Elementary School for the past 3 election period. The first was held at mid-term or  2013 Election .  Then , it was the barangay election held last October 2013 and now the 2016 Philippine national election. The mood is very festive and there were a lot of colorful buntings and posters near the polling place.

barangay help desk or information desk

Taking a cue from previous election experiences , I tried to get some updates from friends and barangay officials who would give the latest update on the number of people at the polling precinct .  The polling precinct was jam packed at around past 5:30am with hundreds of people lining within the polling district . The school is just one of the several designated places by COMELEC where the registered public can vote .

festive buntings

The streets near the polling places have a lot of colorful buntings with the faces of local candidates.

I arrived past 1:00 at the polling station and quickly went to the barangay help desk which is composed of several barangays within the polling area.  I saw a barangay volunteer seated at the information desk and i gave him my Comelec issued ID for instruction . The barangay kagawad  quickly gave the the correct instruction and I quickly went -up to the third floor of the school . This time, the precinct is located on Room 319 3rd floor.

posters and sample ballots which littered the street near the polling precinct

It took me about 10 to 15 minutes from falling in line to  the casting of votes.  There were 4 to 5 people falling in line and the Board of Election Inspectors ( BEI )  were also very fast in giving us the election voting sheet. This is one of the fastest duration,   from finding my precinct, falling in line to casting of my ballot ( less then 15 minutes ).  Since the automation of the election with the help of PCOS ( Precinct- Count Optical Scanner ) in 2010.  ( It took over 2 hours in 2010 , 30 minutes in 2013  and 25 minutes in 2013 barangay election )

After i finished shading the voting sheet , i went to the BEI inspector to submit the shaded voting sheet and inserted the sheet to the Vote Counting Machine ( VCM ) then i got a receipt . One of the BEI had put a drop of indelible ink on my index finger which serve as a proof that i have voted .

Paaralang  Juan Luna

While going down the stairs , i saw an old friend , a Sampaloc resident and now teaching  at the Lyceum of the Philippines . We had a souvenir photo with our index finger pointing  as a proof that we have voted ,done our civil and moral duty to elect the new leaders of our country.

posters at Sergio H. Loyola Street

Observations– I have seen several campaign posters all over the walls and near the polling precinct . It seems that there are violations of campaign posters. There were some people ( particularly children) giving away sample ballots and campaign posters near the polling station.  There were also some senior citizens and people with disability which were not able to vote because they have difficulty climbing the stairs .

I hope that the next election would be better and Manila will be cleaner city .

Note : all photos are taken by the author.

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Eleksyon 2013 – I Voted Wisely

Juan Luna Elementary School ,  830 G. Tolentino Street,  Barangay 397, Sampaloc, Manila-Philippines

I am a long time resident  and a voter of Manila.  My family  lived in various districts – Tondo, Binondo, San Miguel , Santa Mesa, Santa Cruz and Sampaloc. I remember our first polling precinct was located in the old PUP  ( Lepanto street ) campus now Sergio H. Loyola street then transferred to the Church of the Later Day Saints compound along R. Papa near Far Eastern University  before moving to the current site.

Paaralang Juan Luna

I wanted to vote as early as possible,  normally would go to the polling station 30 minutes to  1 hour before the opening . But somehow went to Divisoria to do some last minute shopping. Just a little over 7:00 am – I got an sms from a friend that there is a long line at  the polling station and the PCOS machine had a malfunction ! See the exact map : http://wikimapia.org/745738/Juan-Luna-Elementary-School

voters outside of the polling station located within Juan Luna Elementary School

OMG, I don’t want to be stuck in the long lines just like what happened in 2010 Presidential election .  I just took my time roaming around until past noontime when i received another sms message that the polling station line was short. but the PCOS machine still had some problem ( voting had to start by 8:00am after two voters sheet were initially rejected. ) before the BEI allowed the voters to start voting .

barangay number  with  their  corresponding polling precinct

At around past 1:00pm  ( after lunch )  ,  I went to look at the bulletin board  in front of the school .  Since i knew our barangay number and polling station – It just took less than 30 seconds to pinpoint my polling station and it was located on the third floor of the school. While climbing to the stairs – I saw several senior citizens  and person with disabilities having a hard time going up stairs .  One had to be carried sitting on a mono- block chair up to the third floor of the school!

list of voters

It was indeed a very sad incident that COMELEC officials must consider in the next election . Senior citizens and Person with disabilities must be allocated a space preferably in ground floor so that they will not climb up to the second , third , firth and even fifth floor of the polling precinct. Unlike in Quezon City or Makati . Barangays in  Caloocan  , Manila  are based on a numerical number , zone rather than a barangay name.  It is wise for voters to know their barangay number and barangay chairman- A classic example is M.V. Delos Santos street which are divided into 3 barangays with 3 different barangay  numbers .

voting precinct 2027-A -Room 317

I was able to  locate our polling precinct and was assisted by our barangay chairman who happened to be within the vicinity.  I went to the Board of Election Inspector ( BEI) and introduced myself to them, then identified the polling station, barangay number – Then after a quick look , The BEI handed me the ballot sheet and let me  sign opposite my name .  The process is quite quick unlike the 2010 elections! It took less than 5 minutes compared to more than 2 hours and queuing for the long lines .  I  prepared a short list of names of whom to vote , so it just took me about 5 minutes to finish  voting. There were only 5 voters when i voted a little past 2:00 pm , I handed the ballot to one of the member and he just put the filled  ballot right beside a small box beside the PCOS machine , apparently the COMELEC technicians were not able to trouble shoot the machine  . Which caused some confusion and long lines during the morning .  Before leaving the polling station , I saw 2 to 4 people looking at the list and went inside the precinct.

COMELEC reminder

After i voted,  took some time for a quick chat with our neighbors and poll watchers about what happened to the PCOS machine in our polling station,  a nun over heard our conversation and told that that they will surely guard those PCOS machines which had some glitches ( relief on my part )  .

fiesta -like mood outside of the polling precinct

I think the 2013 election is more orderly compared with the 2010 election . I do not have to wait for long lines and wait for more than 2 hours just  for me to vote, Perhaps in the next election ( barangay ) I might  change my voting habits !

people along the G. Tolentino street

 There should be a special voting precinct  place for the senior citizens , people with  disabilities or even those with high blood pressure who cannot endure climbing up the stairs ,  the extreme humidity and hot weather due to cramped classrooms. I must say ‘congratulations ‘ to all Filipino voters for braving the heat and pressure. Same with the teachers who served as board of election inspectors , volunteers , poll watchers and PPCRV!

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