Is 3 p.m. too early? Voters weigh in on BSKE 2023 cut-off period

October 31, 2023 - 12:22 PM
Voters at the Sto. Niño Elementary School in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City on October 30 (PNA photo by Ben Briones)

Some Filipinos failed to cast their votes before the cut-off period at 3 p.m. on Election Day, which some voters perceived as too early.

The regular voting period for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataang Elections (BSKE) ran from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, October 30.

Persons with disabilities (PWDs), senior citizens and pregnant women who availed of the Emergency Accessible Polling Place (EAPP) were only allowed to cast their votes until 1 p.m.

In an ABS-CBN report, some residents of a barangay in Caloocan City flocked to a polling precinct to supposedly cast their votes. They, however, were denied entry because the voting hours were over.

One of them expressed dismay that she and her companions were no longer allowed to vote.

“Sana makaboto kami dahil kailangan namin. Kaya nga kami tumakbo dito para makaboto tapos ngayon wala na. Dapat pagbigyan nila yung tao,” the Filipina told the reporter.

Another report shows a group of voters not making it in time to cast their votes at the Parañaque Elementary School Central in Parañaque City.

A voter outside the gate could be heard, saying: “Akala ko alas-singko (5 p.m.).”

Some local X users also criticized the BSKE closing time. They perceived 3 p.m. to be too early for some people.

“Comelec will do nothing about this kasi di naman pressing issue for them that people get cutoff kasi ‘barangay level’ lang naman yan THE RIGHT TO VOTE IS A RIGHT FOR ALL,” an X user said.

“Paano na yung mga galing sa work? Are they not allowed anymore to practice their right to vote dahil lang sa cut off na yan?” another X user commented.

Other Filipinos, meanwhile, shook their heads at the latecomers, citing that Election Day was declared a holiday.

“Holiday ngayon diba? Bakit ang dami paring nag papa last minute alam naman nila ang schedule ng cut off,” an X user said.

Through Proclamation 359, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. declared October 30 as a non-working day to allow more Filipinos to participate in this year’s local polls.

Workers who choose to avail of the holiday will also not get paid. Those who choose to report for work are entitled to extra pay.

READ: October 30 declared holiday for BSKE 

Comelec eyes more voting hours

Following the closure of the voting period, Comelec Chairperson George Garcia eyed the extension of the voting hours beyond 3 p.m.

“Hindi namin magawa yong tinatawag na extension kasi wala namang basis to extend. Come to think of it, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. may not be enough especially if you are going to allow voters from the SK of 24 million and from the regular voters 68 million,” Garcia said in a press conference. 

“Ganoon karami ang magpupunta sa bawat presinto tapos ang botohan mo hanggang alas siyete alas tres lang,” he added.

He cited areas in the Bangsamoro region that could not open at 7 a.m. due to election-related tensions.

“Mayroon talaga doon na ang plano ay guluhin lamang muna para ‘di na magkatuluyan, so we will not give them the opportunity,” Garcia said.

As of writing, Comelec has yet to announce the voter turnout for the concluded polls.