Negros Occidental gov asks Aquino to create Comelec reg'l office
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – More than a month away from the May 9 polls, Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr is asking President Benigno Aquino III and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the immediate creation of a Comelec office in the newly created Negros Island Region (NIR).
In a letter dated April 1, Marañon appealed to Aquino, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, and the 6 commissioners to appoint an acting regional director and support staff in the new region.
He said this would be pursuant to Executive Order 183, signed by Aquino on May 29, 2015, and which created the NIR.
Negros Island Region separated Negros Occidental from Western Visayas or Region VI, and Negros Oriental from Central Visayas or Region VII.
Currently, Negros Occidental is under Comelec-Region VI, with offices in Iloilo City, while Negros Oriental is under Comelec-Region VII, with offices in Cebu City.
The Office of the President had also issued Memorandum Circular Number 81, directing all government agencies to extend full assistance to the transition of the new region and that all government agencies should have appointed their interim directors not later than October 1, 2015, and complete their transition by January 1, 2016.
“All deputized government agencies, have already established their interim regional offices in NIR, except for Comelec Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental which remained under Region 6 and Region 7, respectively,” Marañon said in his letter.
The governor pointed out the present setup of the Comelec provincial offices in Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental created confusion with other line agencies like the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of Education, Department of the Interior and Local Government, among others, which have already activated their regional offices.
He stressed that the said agencies are “in quandary as to what region they should get directives and orders from, whether in Region VI or VII.”
Further, the governor said that non-existence of a Comelec regional office in Negros Island Region “may have legal implication on the composition of the Board of Canvassers in view of the fact that the BOC chairman and members belong to two different regions.”
Teopisto Elnas Jr, director of Comelec–Election and Barangay Affairs Department, said that they’re “on the process of creating the regional office” following the creation of the new region.
Elnas said that the Comelec “will follow the set-up of the regional office,” as he assured that the regional office will be established before the elections.
He added that no names had been shortlisted yet for the director.
Elnas was in the city on Friday, April 1, with Commissioner Rowena Guanzon and Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez for the signing of peace covenant of Negros Island Region candidates. – Rappler.com
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