GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/09 May) — At least 13 more precinct count optical scan or PCOS machines arrived at the city airport here Sunday to replace some of the machines that have reportedly malfunctioned during the precinct-level testing and sealing conducted by designated polling inspectors during the last two days.
Chief Supt. Felicisimo Khu, Region 12 police director, said the replacement PCOS machines arrived on a Philippine Airlines flight from Manila Sunday morning and were immediately delivered to their destinations in this city and in nearby South Cotabato.
“We escorted the delivery of eight replacement machines for this city and five for South Cotabato,” he told reporters.
Khu said the new PCOS machines were part of the initial replacements requested by local coordinators of election automation firm Smartmatic-TIM from its central office.
Aside from this city and South Cotabato, he said, Smartmatic has also sought some replacement machines for Matalam town in North Cotabato and several other municipalities in the area.
Khu said they received a request from Smartmatic’s designated shipper, Argo Forwarders, to help secure the arrival of the replacement machines for North Cotabato that arrived through the Cotabato City airport Sunday afternoon.
He said they already sent a police team to the Cotabato City to security the delivery of the new PCOS machines.
Meantime, aside from the initial glitches found on some of the PCOS machines, Khu said the ongoing preparations by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Region have been proceeding as planned so far.
“I’ve been closely coordinating with our Comelec officials and they informed me that they have not encountered any major problem that will disrupt the conduct of the automated elections tomorrow,” he said.
In terms of security preparations, the police official said they have set in place all their personnel to their designated posts, especially in polling precincts and other strategic areas in the region.
Khu said that based on their assessment, the entire region has been peaceful so far and there has been no confirmed or validated threats from any group regarding the conduct of Monday’s elections in the area.
“Our situation has not changed as of this time and we have not recorded any major incident that could disrupt the overall peace and order situation in Region 12,” he added.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of Koronadal, General Santos, Kidapawan, Tacurong and Cotabato. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)