In Agdao, Shortage of Ballots Tests Patience of Voters

May. 14, 2007

Voting Break. The voting at the Ubalde Elementary School in Agdao had to be stop around noontime because of the lack of ballots. ( photo by Medel Hernani)

By Grace S. Uddin
Davao Today

AGDAO, Davao City — Despite the infant in her arms, Marivic Nistal, 29, of barangay Ubalde in Agdao, did not mind walking the distance from her house under the heat of the sun just to be able to vote.

But luck was not on her side today, as well as the other voters who lined up earlier, because the precinct ran out ballots.

“It’s very hot walking to just come here, and with this child,” Nistal said. Tired and exasperated, Nistal decided to wait for the additional ballots.

At the Ubalde Elementary School and Day Care Center, four precincts lacked official ballots.

According to Jomarie dela Rosa, the school principal, he had been trying to get more ballots as early as four in the morning, three hours before the precinct opened. The precincts opened with only 50 pieces of ballots. There were 226 registered voters at two of these four precincts.

According to Alona Tanio, the chairman of the Board of Election Inspectors of one of the precincts, they were able to start only at around 9 a.m. because of what happened. At around 10:20, according to her, another 25 ballots arrived but it was still not enough for the expected number of voters.

“The explanation they (Comelec) gave was that the ballots would still be coming from the national level,” Tanio said.

Meanwhile, at least one precinct had to stop after official ballots already ran out by noon.

“I told the voters to just wait or come back,” said Teresita Apijas, the chairman of the BEI at the said precinct.

Some precincts were forced to share their ballots with other precincts. By the time additional ballots arrived, only a few voters remained.

“They may not really be inclined to vote because if they were, they would have waited, dela Rosa said. We did our best to get additional ballots.” (Grace S. Uddin/

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