Faulty PCOS machines delay voting in GenSan, South Cot, Sarangani

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/10 May) — Voting in several parts of this city and nearby provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani was delayed Monday due to reported faulty precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines and other
related problems.

Lawyer Michael Abas, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Region 12 director, confirmed that some of the deployed PCOS machines in the region malfunctioned in the early hours of the elections, forcing the assigned Board of Election Inspector (BEI) and poll clerks to temporarily suspend the voting.

“There were some areas where voting stopped because of problems with the machine but we already made the necessary remedies,” he said.

Abas said representatives of election automation firm Smartmatic-TIM immediately deployed replacements for the faulty machines to allow the voting to continue.

Among the areas where initial glitches were reported this morning were in a polling precinct in Barangay Apopong here, Glan and Alabel towns in Sarangani and Barangay Concepcion in Koronadal

In Polomolok town, a polling precinct in Barangay Silway 8 failed to open as scheduled this morning due to the late arrival of the replacement for the defective PCOS machine initially assigned to the area.

Local Comelec personnel reported that some of the PCOS machines reportedly failed to properly read the official ballots while the others registered discrepancies on the initial voting counts.

In Alabel town in Sarangani, Comelec provincial supervisor Mantil Alim said the assigned BEIs in Barangay Datal Anggas were forced to revert to manual voting after the assigned PCOS machine malfunctioned.

Barangay Datal Anggas is one of the remotest villages in Alabel and is only accessible by foot or a horse ride that usually take at least half a day.
“They just continued with the voting and then sealed the ballots in their boxes. We’ll just do the counting in one of the polling centers at the town proper,” he said.

Aside from the faulty PCOS machines, Abas said some polling precincts also faced some delays in the voting due to the failure of some voters to properly mark the ballots that resulted to their invalidation by the machines.

In some areas, he said some voters complained of the long queues at the precincts that were later worsened by the morning drizzles.

“Most of the problems we encountered were considered minor and were positive that at the end of the day, our personnel and the BEIs would be able to resolve them,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)