More than 61 million Filipino voters are expected to go out and vote on Monday during what analysts have considered as a referendum on the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte --- the 2019 national and local midterm elections.
A total of 43,554 national and local candidates are vying for 18,071 positions --- from senator to city or municipal councilor --- in this year's elections, according to data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Of this figure, 62 candidates are gunning for only 12 seats in the Senate. The other 12 posts were filled up during the May 2016 elections.
Meanwhile, 134 party-list groups are seeking one of the 61 available party-list seats in the House of Representatives of the 18th Congress.
The remaining seats in the House of Representatives will be shared among 244 district representatives, sought by a total of 633 congressional candidates.
Senators who will win in this elections will serve a six-year term until 2025, while district representatives and party-list groups will hold their positions for three years, until 2022.
Three coalitions fielded senatorial candidates in this year's polls, namely Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte - Carpio's Hugpong ng Pagbabago slate, with 13 candidates, the Liberal Party-allied Otso Diretso opposition coalition, with eight candidates, and the Labor Win coalition, with five candidates.
It can be noted that, although allied with the administration, not all candidates under the Hugpong ng Pagbabago slate was endorsed by President Rodrigo-Duterte.
In the local level, 273 gubernatorial candidates and 185 vice-gubernatorial candidates are running for 81 slots each for governor and vice governor.
There are 780 slots for Sangguniang Panlalawigan members, 1,634 seats for city or municipal mayors and vice-mayors, and 13,544 for city or municipal councilors are to be filled up in this year's elections.
Cebu remains as the most vote-rich province in the country, with about 3.08 million voters expected to troop to polling precincts.
This is followed by the province of Cavite, with 2.15 million voters, Pangasinan with 1.95 million voters, Laguna with 1.90 million voters, and Negros Occidental with 1.89 million voters.
Meanwhile, the five most vote-rich cities in the country are Quezon City with 1.3 million voters, Manila with 1.07 million voters, Davao City with 984,064 voters, Caloocan City with 719,447 voters, and Cebu City with 709,608 voters.
As early as 6 a.m., voters can cast their votes in 36,830 voting centers nationwide through more than 85,000 Vote Counting Machines or VCMs.
Voting will end at exactly 6 p.m., but those who are within the 30-meter vicinity of their polling place will be allowed to vote beyond that time.
PREPARATIONS IN PLACE
Transmission of votes and canvassing will commence immediately after the polls close and may last until the next few days. However in the 2016 elections, there were some winning local candidates who were proclaimed within 24 hours after voting ended.
To ensure the safety and security of the voters during the conduct of the elections, about 800,000 personnel from the police, the military, the Comelec and the Department of Education will be deployed across the country, of which 98,000 are from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and 143,000 are from the Philippine National Police.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde last Tuesday said police personnel are close to "100 percent" ready in its preparations for the elections.
"We cannot of course say na 100 percent na magiging zero incident tayo.... Hopefully, maging zero incident tayo with all the preparations that we have made already together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Commission on Elections and other agencies of the government," he said.
Malacañang, on Friday, also said the government is now ready for the conduct of the midterm elections and is set to go after individuals with “sinister plans and evil machinations” to derail the democratic exercise.
“We enjoin all Filipinos who are eligible to vote to participate in this healthy democratic exercise as we call on all candidates across the political spectrum to ask their supporters to observe an honest, orderly, peaceful and credible elections reflective of the people’s genuine will,” said presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement. — BAP, GMA News