THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is not expecting a high voter turnout in Saturday’s (December 17, 2022) plebiscite in Baliwag, Bulacan.

In an interview, Comelec Chairman George Garcia said that they do not expect a high voter turnout similar to the majority of the plebiscites conducted in the past.

“We do not expect a high voter turnout here in Baliwag, Bulacan. If we hit 60 to 65 percent, that will already be a big turnout,” said Garcia.

“As usual, the voter turnout in plebiscites is not high,” he added.

The poll chief said one reason is that it is not a declared holiday in the area.

“Some have to go to work,” he said.

Another reason, he said, is that plebiscites do not get as much interest as the national and local elections.

“Some are too lazy to wake up or go to polling precincts,” said Garcia.

The highest voter turnout in plebiscite history is 89.73 percent during the creation of the province of Compostela Valley from the province of Davao del Norte held on March 7, 1998.

There are a total of 108,572 registered voters in Baliwag, Bulacan eligible to cast their votes.

In a statement, the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) noted the low turnout in the plebiscite, as of 10:30 a.m.

“Our volunteers reported a turnout of only 2 percent to 10 percent in polling places observed, as of 10:30 a.m.,” said Namfrel.

This, it said, is despite the Comelec earlier conducting an information campaign, through social media and house-to-house visits, for Baliwag voters to participate in the plebiscite.

The poll watchdog, however, shared the belief of different Plebiscite Committees (PlebCom) that more may come out before voting hours end.

“The members of PlebComs believe that more voters will come after lunchtime,” said Namfrel. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)