Thursday, 11 February 2010

82,200 election machines ready to be shipped in

Manila Times

A high-ranking Commission on Elections (Comelec) official on Wednesday said that the joint venture of Smartmatic and Total Information Management (TIM) has finished the production of some 82,200 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines that would be used for the automation of the May 2010 national elections.

Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said that the joint venture finished the manufacturing of the election machines on Monday.

“We have the picture of the last PCOS [machines], and we are just making arrangements so that all PCOS [machines] will be here by February 21. So, tapos na [it’s all finished]. Smartmatic-TIM has already produced all the machines required for the elections,” Larrazabal told reporters in a press briefing.

Earlier reports showed that the poll body had some 48,900 PCOS machines stored in a warehouse in Cabuyao, Laguna.

There are also some 7,200 PCOS machines still with the Bureau of Customs while 800 are in transit and some 25,300 are ready for shipment to the country.

February 21 delivery

Smartmatic-TIM is scheduled to deliver the balance of the PCOS machines on or before February 21. The poll body will sanction the firm if it fails to deliver the machines on time.

In December, Smartmatic-TIM said that there was a problem with the shipment of the machines because of the holiday rush.

They were, however, able to deliver some 7,200 machines before 2009 ended.

Larrazabal also earlier said that some of the PCOS machines have undergone laboratory and field testing. The poll body also conducted mock elections last week, which Comelec Chairman Jose Melo described as “almost perfect.”

Upon the delivery of the 82,200 PCOS machines, the joint venture of Smartmatic-TIM will start customizing the equipment. The machines will then be delivered to the different provinces by mid-April.

On Tuesday, Systest Labs—an internationally accredited software testing and control company—submitted the source code to Comelec, which was then turned over to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for safekeeping.

The source code is a set of machine-readable languages that would be installed in the PCOS machines. The code is crucial in instructing the machines on how to count the ballots.

Overseas voting

Also on Wednesday, Comelec Commissioner Armando Velasco said that they have finished printing the manual ballots that will be used for overseas absentee voters (OAVs).

The commission earlier decided that OAVs would make use of postal voting rather than the automated elections system.

“What we are doing now is preparing the mailing pockets, so that these ballots together with the mailing pockets will be mailed to the [countries],” Velasco said, adding that there are special groups in each host country that will be responsible for receiving the ballots.

“As regards to the automation in Singapore and Hong Kong, as of this time, the PM [prime minister] will decide whether to fully automate in Hong Kong and Singapore,” the commissioner added.

The poll body has chosen Singapore and Hong Kong as countries where they can pilot-test the automated elections system since these are countries with the highest number of overseas Filipino workers.

Elections for overseas Filipinos will be held one month before the May 10 elections.

Velasco said that ballots for personal voters, or those who will troop to Philippine embassies in their host countries, would be printed starting Thursday.

Postal voting will involve around 138,000 voters while there will be 589,830 personal voters. The planned automated elections in Hong Kong and Singapore will involve some 95,000 and 31,000 voters, respectively.

Compliance with rules

Meanwhile, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said that the poll body’s education and information department would inspect major thoroughfares on Friday to check if candidates are complying with campaign rules.

He added that they would be taking videos and photos of posters that have not been taken down. Earlier, the poll body reminded candidates that they should dismantle or take down printed materials posted before the start of the campaign period.

Under the fair elections law, the size of posters of candidates should be two feet by three feet.

Campaign period for national candidates started Tuesday while local candidates can start campaigning starting March 26. The campaign period ends May 8.

“We’ll see what’s the status of compliance is and from that we’ll be able to issue more friendly reminders for compliance,” Jimenez said.

Intensified security

The Philippine National Police (PNP) also launched simultaneous operations in some 3.500 Comelec checkpoints across the country to intensify its election security operations with the official campaign kicking off Tuesday.

National-police chief Director Gen. Jesus Verzosa said National Task Force HOPE 2010 would have at its disposal the tactical units of the PNP such as the Special Action Force, Regional Public Safety Management Battalions and Provincial Public Safety Management Companies for police interdiction.

In hostile territories, the police units will be backed by light armor support and waterborne and air assets, including newly acquired helicopters with night flying capability. Police commandos capable of rapid deployment will also be fielded.

As the nationwide Comelec-imposed gunban entered its 30th day on Wednesday, a total of 743 gunban violators have been arrested consisting 52 policemen, 29 soldiers, 31 government officials and 631 civilians. The national police also confiscated 618 firearms, 23 explosive devices, 164 knives and 762 gun replicas in checkpoints and weapons check operations.



  1. 任何你憂慮的事,你都應該去採取一點行動,不要只是在那邊想 ..................................................

  2. I just really hope that everything is in the right shape now. less than 3 months is election time. Hope that these machines are all working properly and the voting public should have adequate knowledge now how to do the voting on May 10.