Voting for Philippine general election begins

08:12, May 10, 2010      

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Voting of the Philippine presidential and local elections began at 36,679 polling stations at 7 a.m. Monday.

At the hometown of presidential candidate Benigno Aquino III, almost 100 voters arrived at a polling station half an hour before the voting officially started. "I will cast my vote to "Noynoy" Aquino," said a female voter.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cast her vote at a polling station in her hometown Pampanga Province shortly after 7 a.m. Polling stations are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time on Monday. More than 50 million Filipinos have been registered as voters this year, of whom, 85 percent said they would vote, according to the Election Commission (Comelec). The latest survey conducted by Social Weather Station on May 2 and May 3 showed Liberal Party candidate Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III got a 42 percent preference rate, 22 percent ahead of former President Joseph Estrada, who got 20 percent.

A nother poll body Pulse Asia said four in every 10 Filipinos support Aquino III. His two major rivals Estrada and Manuel Villar Jr. had a supporting rate of 20 percent each.

Seven areas in the Philippines were placed on Saturday by the country's Commission on Elections (Comelec) under its control due to escalating elections-related violence there.

These areas are Nueva Ecija and Abra; Bequey in Cagayan; Davao City in Davao del Sur; Dasol in Pangasinan; Pantao, Ragat and Matungao in Lanao del Norte and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Comelec said.

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