Three killed in election violence as Filipinos vote in village polls


Published: 2023-10-30 09:58

Last Updated: 2024-04-15 22:23

Three killed in election violence as Filipinos vote in village polls
Three killed in election violence as Filipinos vote in village polls

Security forces were on high alert across the Philippines as millions of people voted for village leaders following months of deadly poll-related violence.

In the latest incident three people were killed outside a polling station on the restive island of Mindanao, police said as voting got underway.

More than 336,000 council positions are up for grabs in the long-delayed nationwide vote, including the influential post of village captain.

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 have been 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.

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

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

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

Two schools to be used as polling stations in Maguindanao del Norte were also deliberately set on fire on Saturday, Commission on Elections chairman George Garcia told reporters Sunday.

In the run-up to Monday's vote, there were 30 confirmed incidents of election-related violence, compared with 35 in 2018, the Philippine National Police said Sunday, without providing an updated breakdown for the number of dead and injured.

Previous police data showed eight people had been killed and seven injured in poll-related violence between August 28 and October 25.