Four People Killed In Philippine Village Elections

Manila, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 30th Oct, 2023) At least four people were killed in the restive southern Philippines on Monday as millions turned out to vote for village leaders following months of deadly poll-related violence.

Security forces were on high alert across the country for the long-delayed nationwide vote for more than 336,000 council positions.

While villages are the lowest-level government unit, the council posts are hotly contested because they are used by political parties to cultivate grassroots networks and build a support base for local and general elections.

More than 300,000 police officers and soldiers were deployed to secure polling stations in over 42,000 villages.

In the capital Manila, voters waited in long lines to cast their ballots at schools being used as polling venues.

“This is important for the people… we need to be able to consult someone over our problems,” said Rosemarie Garcia in the hardscrabble neighbourhood of Tondo.

“We need somebody who is easily approachable to his or her constituents.”

Elections are a traditionally volatile time in the Philippines, which has lax gun laws and a violent political culture.

Commission on Elections chairman George Garcia said voting had been “generally peaceful” except for several incidents on the southern island of Mindanao.

Two people were killed and five others were wounded outside a polling station in Maguindanao del Norte province, police said.

The shootout happened during a confrontation between supporters of rival candidates for village captain, said Datu Odin Sinsuat municipality police chief Lieutenant-Colonel Esmail Madin.

In another incident on Mindanao, a woman was killed when a gunfight broke out after a van carrying a village captain and her supporters was stopped on a road by people backing her rival in Lanao del Norte province, the army said.

The husband of a village captain in Lanao del Sur province died after he was shot in the chest during a confrontation with his wife‘s rival, police said.

In 2009, before it was divided into two provinces, Maguindanao was the scene of the country’s deadliest single incident of political violence on record.

Fifty-eight people were massacred as gunmen allegedly working for a local warlord attacked a group of people to stop a rival from filing his election candidacy.
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