Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Poll deputies to start training on new technology -- Comelec

AMP
BusinessWorld
http://www.bworldonline.com/main/content.php?id=4472

THE 30-DAY training of poll deputies would start on March 1, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday.

In a press briefing, Director Adolfo A. Ibañez, head of the Comelec’s personnel department, said the training of 8,000 Comelec field personnel who will echo the seminar to 160,000 board of election inspectors (BEI) on the operation of voting machines and counting and canvassing system is on Feb. 18 to 28.

Comelec requires at least one BEI member as information technology consultant. The poll body, in Resolution 8739, also ordered the deployment of a maximum of three technology support staff to every clustered precinct.

"BEI members are subject to certification examination to be conducted by the Department of Science and Technology after their training," Mr. Ibañez said.

The Comelec has trimmed down the precincts to at least 75,000 clustered units from over 200,000 in the 2007 midterm polls.

A clustered precinct, which consolidates a maximum of seven precincts, has 1,000 voters.

Sought for comment, Rebecca Malay, secretary-general of poll watchdog Consortium on Electoral Reforms, said: "I’m hoping that [BEI members] will be trained properly."
She recommended the holding of BEI training on weekends to avoid disruption of classes and for the Comelec to conduct a "training needs assessment." Public school teachers mainly compose the BEIs.

Meanwhile, poll technology provider Smartmatic/Total Information Management (TIM) Corp. yesterday said it has surveyed 89% of the country as of Jan. 9 for data transmission capability.

Smartmatic/TIM, the consortium that bagged the P7.2-billion poll automation contract last June, is conducting a site survey of clustered precincts to determine if they are covered by "persistent general packet radio service signals" for the transmission of election results.

The survey also aims to determine availability of power outlets in polling centers and their distance to the nearest logistics hubs.

"As to the specific area of Maguindanao, our election day management platform software has reported that 73% of the province’s polling centers have been surveyed even as more areas are being covered every day," company spokesman Gene Gregorio said in a statement. -- AMP

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