Saturday, 10 April 2010

Comelec: No irregularity observed in OAV, so far

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Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) for Filipinos in Hong Kong and Singapore started smoothly around 8 a.m. (Manila time) Saturday and was going smoothly, so far, a Commission on Elections commissioner said.

“The [PCOS] machines have already been opened. [The voting process] is [already] starting," Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said in an interview on radio dzBB.

Larrazabal is in Hong Kong, which has 95,355 Filipino absentee voters. Singapore, on the other hand, has 31,851.

“It’s all systems go here, and we are excited," Larrazabal said, adding that the members of the Filipino committee and consulate officials in Hong Kong are assisting voters, who he said have started arriving at the Philippine consulate office there to cast their votes.

Larrazabal also assured that elections officials were equipped with UV lamps to be used to authenticate the ballots. “All teachers and volunteers have UV lamps. When we came here to train the officials, mayroon nang UV lamps dito sa Hong Kong. Kumpleto na definitely," the commissioner said.

Larrazabal said that automated counting will only be done at the end of the voting period on May 10, the scheduled start of the automated elections here in the Philippines.

“All election data will be sent electronically on May 10. There will be no everyday counting. The election returns will be generated only then, and canvassing will be done in Manila," Larrazabal said.

Earlier, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting chair Henrietta de Villa expressed confidence that the overseas absentee voting would proceed smoothly. PPCRV is the accredited citizen arm of the Comelec. [See: HK, Singapore all set for start of 31 days automated OAV]

Meanwhile, radio dzBB cited Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, chair of the department’s absentee voting committee, as saying that they are expecting a high voter turnout on Sunday, as most of the OFWs are on day-off from work. — LBG, GMANews.TV

First vote cast in Hong Kong goes to Villar

MANILA, Philippines - The first official votes fed into the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) in Hong Kong went to members of the Nacionalista Party (NP), led by its standard-bearer, Sen. Manuel "Manny" Villar Jr.

ABS-CBN correspondent Michael Vincent reported that the first votes were cast by Rowena dela Cruz, member of a migrant workers' group Migrante, at the Bayanihan Kennedy Center in Hong Kong.

Vincent said that according to Dela Cruz, he voted Villar for president and Sen. Loren Legarda for vice-president.

Dela Cruz told ABS-CBN's correspondent in Hong Kong that she voted Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza for senators. Both candidates are also running under the NP ticket.

Vincent said voting started at the Bayanihan Kennedy Center around 7 a.m..

He said several overseas Filipino workers stayed overnight at the center to make sure that they would be the first ones to participate in the Philippines' first automated elections.

Vincent said around 3,000 Filipinos are expected to troop to the center to cast their votes on Sunday.

He said members of the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong, led by Consul General Claro Cristobal, have also cast their votes.

The month-long overseas absentee voting (OAV) officially started on Saturday.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is expecting more than half a million Filipinos abroad to participate in the OAV.

Those in Hong Kong and Singapore would be the only overseas Filipinos who will be able to use the PCOS machines. There are more than 126,000 Filipino voters in the 2 countries. – Report from Michael Vincent, dzMM

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