Sunday, 31 January 2010

We’re ready for automated polls – Comelec

Manila Bulletin

Barely less than a hundred days before the May 10, 2010 elections, officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Saturday again gave their assurance on the poll body’s readiness to implement the country’s fully automated elections despite the glitches during the first phase of field testing on the newly acquired Print Count Optical Scan (PICOS) voting and counting machines last week.

Citing at least three “good news” on the poll body’s preparations for the conduct of the May 10 elections, Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said they are optimistic that the poll body is ready to implement the first automated elections.

First, Sarmiento said there are about 14,800 PICOS machines that have already arrived in the country while another batch of 8,000 will be delivered in the coming days.

He added that a total of 48,900 electronic voting machines are expected to be delivered in the first week of February, expressing confidence that the entire 82,200 PICOS units will be delivered by February 21, the deadline set by the Comelec for Smartmatic Company.

Second, Sarmiento said that the Comelec has forged a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Education (DepEd) for the conduct of training of the teachers who will man the voting and counting machines during the elections. The training, he said, will start on February 10 as scheduled.

Third, he assured that the technical problems incurred during the first field testing operations in Taguig last week have been solved, claiming that the initial phase of the testing was “generally okay.”

Sarmiento, along with Commissioners Luisito Tagle, Armando Velasco, Lucenito Tagle, and Gregorio Larrazabal, took turns in answering queries about the poll body’s readiness in undertaking the automated polls during a forum initiated by radio station DZMM and held at the Pamantasan ng Lunsod ng Maynila.

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