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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesFriday, May 3, 2013
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Comelec allays fear
of systems failure

The Commission on Elections has assured voters that it has put in place measures that will avert possible system failures in the May 13 elections.

Remlane Tambuang of the Comelec said they have, so far, completed the operational and technical preparations and back-up plans for the elections, especially on the possibility of power failures.

All provincial, city and town election officers were also tasked to prepare their back-up plans, Tambuang said.

The National Movement for Free Elections had earlier asked the Comelec to double check the capability of the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines to initialize, operate and transmit the results on election day.

This was after they received reports from their provincial chapters, including in Negros Oriental, that the machines malfunctioned after several demonstrations were held.

Namfrel national chair Corazon de la Paz-Bernardo said the malfunctioning of the PCOS machines will pose problems of congestion and long lines in the precincts; voluntary disenfranchisement for voters who do not have the time or patience to wait; possibility of low turnout; and frustration for both the Board of Election Inspectors members and the voters.

She said that, during the mock elections on February 2, failure of transmission of the result was observed in Dumaguete City and other places; and the BEIs in Kabulakan, Sta. Catalina town in Negros Oriental were advised to try transmitting at the local Comelec office because of the signal glitch.

Other problems noted were the delay in the initialization of the PCOS machines, unavailability of technicians to assist the BEIs, malfunctioning units and ballot rejection, the Namfrel said.

Tambuang said the Comelec central office has allotted enough backup election equipment and supplies that may be used in emergency situations during the election day.

He said they were specifically issued additional PCOS units, backup batteries and mobile satellite network devices. He added that the PCOS machines come with backup batteries that automatically switch on in case of power failure.

He also said they have assigned trained technicians for each polling center and precinct that will handle any PCOS-related problem on election day.

The PCOS machines will be inspected and tested thoroughly by Comelec technical personnel and the BEIs during the final testing and sealing of the machines.*PNA

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