Authorities described referendum as successful and orderly
ORMOC CITY-As projected, the ‘yes’ votes for the merging of several barangays and the renaming of a barangay won during a plebiscite conducted here in the city on Saturday (Oct.8).
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said that the voters’ turnout for the plebiscite was about 53%.
Of the 5,315 voters who cast their votes during the plebiscite, 4,767 of them favored the merging while the remaining 538 chose to vote no.
There were 10,029 registered voters of the 29 barangays that were involved in the plebiscite.
The plebiscite involved the merging of 28 barangays into three ‘super barangays’ or districts.
Barangay 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 15, 17, 23 and 27 will now be known as Barangay South while Barangays 9, 10, 11, 16, 18, 25 and 28 will now be refer as Barangay East.
Meantime, Barangays 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24 and 26 shall now be known collectively as the Barangay West.
Also, Barangay 29 will be known as Barangay North.
With the merging, the city’s 110 barangays will now be reduced to 85.
Lawyer John Rex Laudiangco, the spokesperson of the Comelec, said that the result will have an immediate effect with the Department of Interior and Local Government(DILG) to be notified on the changes with the final results or votes canvassed during the conduct of the plebiscite as an attached document.
Current officials of the affected barangays will serve their terms until a new election for the barangays and Sangguniang Kabataan(SK) will be conducted.
Top officials of the Comelec, headed by its chairman, George Erwin Garcia, monitored the conduct of the plebiscite declaring it successful and generally peaceful.
A representative of Namfrel (National Citizens Movement for Free Elections), Angel Averia, noted that there were instances that some polling precincts were crowded, there were designated areas for senior citizens and persons with disabilities and there was no proclamation of a non-working day which could contribute why many of the 10,029 voters of the affected villages failed to cast their votes.
The city government of Ormoc decided to collapse these 28 barangays into just three districts on ground for easy management on top of the fact that many of these villages either have few residents which result for them not to have needed personnel like watchmen or lack of areas for them to build facilities like day care or health center and barangay hall.
Mayor Lucy Torres Gomez expressed her gratitude for supporting their move.
“I like to thank everyone who worked to make the merging happen and the barangays who selflessly supported the merging. Time will tell that this is a very good move and will redound for better services to the barangays,” she said.
The move was started back in 2020 during the incumbency of now Leyte Rep. Richard Gomez.
For this political exercise, the city government has allocated P8 million.
Meantime, it was learned from Comelec Chairman Garcia that the Ormoc plebiscite is one of the 20 similar activity that the poll body will be supervising in other parts of the country.
Earlier, the Comelec conducted plebiscites in Alabel, Saranggani province for the creation of a new barangay held last August 20; the conversion of the town of Calaca, Batangas into a city last Sept.3; and the division of Maguindanao province into Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindano del Sur held last Sept.17.
(JOEY A. GABIETA/LIZBETH ANNA.ABELLA))