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Comelec bracing vs. usual polls hitch

Surplus PCOS machines would just be as good as brand new and “counts the votes more precisely”. But the precincts could be no larger than the usual.

This was according to Comelec-Bohol Officer-in-Charge Lionel Marco Castillano, as he expressed lament that their request to purchase 40,000 more PCOS was disapproved.

The government bought the same PCOS machines used in 2010 elections which can already be considered as surplus.

 

The additional PCOS machines are supposedly intended to cut the queue.

Without it, long queue that would extend to the school lobbies is still expected in every precinct wherein voters would be vulnerable to some last minute vote-buying.

Accurate count is assured, but the quality of service might be uncertain to get a score, the Comelec admitted.

There would be courtesy lanes for the senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

For the media practitioners who would avail of advance voting must be aware that they could only vote for the national candidates, because the ballots would still be submitted to the national office.

Those who do not want to miss voting for local officials will have to vote on election day and would have to forego the advance voting will just have to manage their time efficiently, according to Castillano.

Castillano also said Comelec is hiring 1,355 PCOs technicians among the computer literate DepEd personnel.

The training for the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs), PCOs technicians and other support groups starts this month.

Unlike in the past elections wherein the training was done through powerpoint presentations, the training this time would be done on actual test operation.

For the meantime, the Comelec is still trying to perfect the transmission of results from the PCOs machines to the Comelec system wherein there would be a separate bandwidth for exclusive use of the PCOs machines and before elections the government would be able to finalize the contract for this.

Castillano also assured that all there is to do would be done to ensure a violence-free election.

The election supervisor already had several conferences with the PNP.

There still remains no final declaration yet from Regional Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council (RJPSC) on the requests to include the towns of Danao, Carmen and Trinidad, and Tagbilaran City among the Election Watchlist Areas (EWAs).

Castillano, however, explained that there is no need to worry on the impression that it will create because being declared as hotspot or being placed under Comelec control because it is the actually the last resort.

The Comelec is just watching on the areas with the presence of potential armed group, intense rivalry. But it doesn't necessarily mean the concerned area would be a hotspot or to be under Comelec control which is required only on areas with serious armed threat such as violence, terrorism, hindrance to peaceful election or prevent an election to take place.

Castillano said he was informed that there have been no private armed groups (PAGs) yet in Bohol.

That's why the PNP conduct more checkpoints and implement search warrants for those who have loose firearms who might be converted to private armies.

The tendency is that some unscrupulous gun owners would be lured to join PAGs during the elections and when already used to getting dirty money, they would be tempted to put their firearms “to good use” during ordinary seasons in hold-ups.

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