BY: MARIA TERESA B. BENAS
BANGUED, Abra, Sept. 11(PIA) — Local leaders and authorities in Abra representing various groups and sectors have come up with their strategic plan of action to sustain the gains of the May 2013,which was described as the most peaceful and orderly elections in the province.
In a meeting called by the Joint Peace Security Control Center (JPSCC) composed of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), the Abra Provincial Police Office, and the Philippine Army, an action plan was mapped out to ensure that the successful experience of the province of Abra in the May 2013 elections will be replicated if not improved during the conduct of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on October 28, 2013.
The planning meeting was participated by the Abra Peace Conveners’ Group (APCG), the local media and the youth leaders.
The body came up with its plan to conduct an intensive voters’ education with the participation of all the members of the group as well as all the election officers in the municipal COMELEC offices so that all secondary and tertiary schools can be reached given the limited period for the campaign.
Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Mae Richelle Belmes said that the voters’ education campaign started on September 9 as the official COMELEC time begins. Relative to this, Belmes had required all election officers to conduct voters’ education in all the high schools in all the municipalities in Abra.
Belmes said they will come up with short dramatized advertisement or skit to be aired on Radio DZPA everyday. The plug-ins, she added, will differ in theme every week to be able to discuss on air the “ins-and-outs” and the “dos-and-don’ts” of election especially for the benefit of the youth.
The JPSCC wants to focus on anti-vote buying campaign and attack the issue of culture of silence among the Abreños.
In order to achieve this goal, the body had agreed to conduct symposia in six schools in Bangued namely, the Abra State Institute of Sciences and Technology, Divine Word College of Bangued, Abra Valley Colleges, Abra High School, Holy Spirit Academy of Bangued, and Data Center College of the Philippines.
The symposia will be conducted in the last two weeks of September and the first week of October.
Miss Carmelita Bersalona and Mr. Michael Paredes of the APCG together with Belmes came up with the content presentation of the voters’ education which include among others, the structures of government, qualifications of candidates, prohibitions and limitations, and election rules.
Belmes said the body will request the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting/National Movement for Free Elections (PPCRV/NAMFREL) to discuss matters concerning “how to choose leaders and vote wisely campaign”, and the DILG to discuss the duties and responsibilities of elected barangay and SK officials so that the electorate, especially the aspiring candidates will learn beforehand their roles and functions. (JDP/Ginalyn Brioso/MTBB-PIA CAR, Abra)