EDITORIAL: Vote-rich barangays

THE ELECTION fever is brewing, actually racing now to its boiling point, as candidates waste no time to woo voters for their precious votes when they finally go to the polling places to express their right of suffrage.

In Naga City, whose population has grown to over 195,000 as of latest count-- which doubles at daytime due to transients coming to the city to transact business, shop, eat and drink food and wine, study, and worship, or simply visit a friend or watch a movie, and escape the heat by refuging inside air-conditioned malls -- candidates are moving like crazy to secure the winning share from the city’s 105,366 registered voters.

These voters from 27 barangays on May 13 will be heading to 590 established precincts in 24 voting centers throughout the city.

It is estimated that for a city councilor to be in the winning circle, or the so-called Magic 10, he or she must have gathered at least 45,000 votes, which should be higher for those gunning for the lone seats such as mayor and vice mayor. That’s a no mean job, especially for newcomers who have to start from zero.

For tactical reason, candidates in Naga City’s local poll contest will have to take a long look at barangays with the highest number of voters, or at least the first 10 of them that may deliver much of the winning votes. Because of increasing population brought by population boom, burgeoning trade and commerce, and relocation of informal settlers to new settlements, including in-migration by job seekers from other towns and provinces, there have been changes in the ranking of some of the city’s barangays in terms of total number of registered voters.

Concepcion Pequena remains to be the barangay with the highest number of voters at 12,118. It is followed by San Felipe with its 7,224 voters, whose large expanse were formerly grasslands before new subdivisions and business establishments came in, outranking former second-placer Brgy. Calauag (which is now in fourth rank with voting population of 6,524), with Cararayan, also site of new subdivisions and urban poor settlements, taking the third spot with its voting population of 6,647.

Concepcion Grande (its territorial boundary was of course originally bigger than Concepcion Pequena before it was shaved off to see the birth of Barangays Del Rosario and Cararayan) is now in fifth rung with its population of 5,874 which is nonetheless a vote-rich village as far as hungry vote-seekers are concerned. Barangay Pacol, an erstwhile agriculture and pasture land, is now ranked 6th, with its enticing voting population of 5,812, with Balatas trailing close 7th with its voting population of 5,241. They complete the 5,000 or more bracket.

Brgys. Del Rosario, Triangulo and Sta. Cruz (the latter two traditionally occupying the top five in terms of voting population a few elections ago) complete the new top ten voting population list.

Other densely populated areas, which used to be among the richest in terms of votes, have been downgraded to eleventh rank downward, not because their population had diminished but because of the growth of new big population players aforementioned. In fact, no candidate worth his salt would ignore their winning vote potential, especially that elections are always deemed fierce and close, until after all votes have been cast and counted. These barangays include Mabolo (11th), Sabang (12th), and Bagumbayan Sur, Abella, Penafrancia, Carolina, Tabuco, Dayangdang, and Igualdad, in that diminishing order.

With the city’s population quickly reaching the 250,00 mark, Naga as a component city may soon become its own congressional district within two or three more elections that will make the local electoral contest in this place even more interesting.