The Commission on Elections in Negros Oriental ended yesterday the series of trainings for public school teachers, who will serve as members of the Board of Election Inspectors in the May polls.
The teachers are now ready to man their polling precincts, except for a refresher sometime in late April if the need arises. Provincial Election Supervisor-designate Lionel Castillano said only minor problems or concerns had surfaced during the trainings of the BEIs coming from Negros Oriental and Siquijor province.
Two members per BEI, or more than 2,500 teachers, were sent to the training with election officers and assistants, who had not trained earlier in Manila, also included in the activity, Castillano said.
Negros Oriental has 1,284 BEIs, or one BEI per clustered voting precinct, he added. Each BEI is composed of three members, although only the chairperson and the second member were trained, he said.
The series of trainings, comprising two days per batch, was originally scheduled for the entire month of March but was cut short because of the Holy Week observance. It started March 1 and was supposed to end today, but concluded yesterday as the Comelec added more venues to speed up the training to allow the teachers to return home for the Holy Week.
The highlight of the training was the operation of the Vote Counting Machines, especially as these have new features compared to the Precinct Count Optical Scan that was used in the 2010 and 2013 polls.
Castillano announced the VCMs that were used in the training of BEIs here will be pulled out today, to be returned to the Comelec Central Office in Manila for reconfiguration, for the elections.
Meanwhile, majority of the towns and cities in Negros Oriental have completed the retrieval and inventory of yellow ballot boxes to be used as receptacles for the printed voter's receipt.
Only the towns of Valencia and Zamboanguita started their inventory Monday, as the municipal treasurers were in a seminar last week, Castillano said.
In Dumaguete City, 135 ballot boxes have been inspected and are ready for use, city election officer Gildu Agoncillo said.
The City Treasurer's Office of Dumaguete concluded the retrieval and inspection of these ballot boxes late Monday.
Castillano said it is unclear yet whether the yellow ballot boxes will actually be utilized during the May 9 elections as the poll body is now mulling the idea of procuring new receptacles instead.
He added he has not received any official communication yet regarding this.*JFP
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