Comelec: 2010 automated polls ‘on track’
Posted December 17, 2009on:
By Anna Valmero
First Posted 12:18:00 12/17/2009
Filed Under: Politics, Eleksyon 2010
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections assured on Thursday that its preparations for the country’s first automated elections in 2010 were “on-track,” allaying fears that a nationwide computerized polls was not viable.
In fact, elections commissioner Rene Sarmiento told a Senate hearing that the delivery of 82,000 poll machines that will be used in next year’s elections will be completed a week earlier than the original February 28, 2010 schedule.
“We are on track in the preparations for the 2010 elections although there is a delay in the initial delivery of the machines due to full shipping lines this holiday season,” Sarmiento said.
“We will start the intensive training of Comelec personnel on February 18, 2010 followed by teachers’ training slated on March 18, which is just enough for them to learn additional tasks in serving as board of election inspectors,” he said.
“We assure, 100 percent, there would be automated elections in May 2010,” Sarmiento added.
Of the 40,000 poll machines slated for delivery this month, however, only 9,800 units were expected to arrive the country as scheduled.
The remaining machines, according to Comelec executive director and automation project leader Jose Tolentino, will only be available for shipment early January next year.
But Tolentino said the delivery of the total 82,000 machines will be completed by February 22, 2010 instead of the February 28 schedule.
“We expect an earlier shipment of the total machines by February 22 instead of February 28, 2010,” he said.
But instead of two batches, Tolentino said, the delivery will now come in eight stages because of the delay in the approval of the poll automation contract with Smartmatic-TIM (Total Information Management) brought about by the case filed by lawyer Harry Roque at the Supreme Court.
“There was a delay due to the Supreme Court case (of Roque) but we would like to say that the we would make the delivery earlier by a week,” he further said.
On Supreme Court’s decision to extend the nationwide voters’ registration until January 9, Tolentino said the Comelec expects two million more Filipino voters to participate in the 2010 polls.
“We expect two million to register (in the extended voters registration), which is four percent of the 50 million voters that have registered from December 20008 up to November 3,” he said.