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Comelec sets 2010 ‘cohesive strategy’

Posted on: February 24, 2009

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20090223-190599/Comelec-sets-2010-cohesive-strategy

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:56:00 02/23/2009

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections is forming a body that will manage and oversee the implementation of a “cohesive management strategy” for the 2010 elections and has started identifying groups that will be under it, a spokesman for the Commission on Elections said Monday.

The Project Management Office (PMO) will be composed of groups for allocation, printing, verification, packaging and shipping, site preparation and media information, said lawyer James Jimenez.

Jimenez said these groups would submit their plans for the approval of the Comelec en banc.

Jimenez said senior staff from the poll body’s different departments met last Friday to streamline the pre- and post- operations of each department under PMO during elections and draft contingency plans in case problems occurred.

The group identified coordination of departmental functions, security and voters’ education as the top factors that could affect the success of the 2010 polls, said Jimenez.

This is why each group drafted plans to address this in ensuring a “coherent management strategy” for 2010, he said.

The Election and Barangay Affairs Department (EBAD) is now working on the Project of Precincts (POPs) to identify the precincts established and for clustering, which will be needed to account for the required election paraphernalia in 2010, said Jimenez.

The allocation department will handle the operational requirements of precincts including ballots, election supplies, logistics of board of election officers and the total cost of per precinct operation based on the POPs submitted by EBAD, he said.

The printing group is tasked to make sure ballots per municipality or city will contain the right number and names of candidates and will not lack in number so that no voter gets disenfranchised, he said.

The verification group will verify that each of the pre-printed ballots will be read by the machine to avoid fraudulent results and that any misaligned item, like the oval opposite the name of the candidate, could affect the machine reading of the votes and finally, affect voting results, he said.

After all ballots and election paraphernalia have been verified, the packaging and shipping committee would seal the items and deliver it from the Comelec Manila office to the municipal or city treasury office, which will keep the ballots, ballot boxes, and other paraphernalia until election day when BEI officers would claim the precinct supplies at 3 a.m. of election day, he said.

The site preparation group will identify the precincts which are secure, big enough to accommodate the voting machines to be used by the voters. This group will also assist persons with disabilities to vote at the ground floor of each school building.

The media information group will handle the voters’ information such as details of precincts for voters and voters’ education, which include topics why people should exercise their right to votes.

“2010 is just around the corner. It is our first time to automate in a national scale and it needs a lot of planning and streamlining processes to ensure success. It is important that we begin today so we draft a coherent strategy for 2010; in 2008 [ARMM] elections, we have only three months to prepare,” said Jimenez in a separate interview Friday.

In case the budget will not get approved, Jimenez said the PMO staff was considering a reduced scope for automated elections or manual voting so the commission would not get “flat-footed” during the 2010 polls.

In 2008, the Comelec issued Resolution 8464 that formed a PMO body, which managed and handled the automated elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

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