Comelec-11 ready for elections

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 Feb) – The Commission on Elections in Region 11 is “ready” for the midterm elections come May 13, regional election director Wilfred Jay Balisado said Monday.

The region has a total of 2.6 million registered voters, posting an increase of 100,000 from the last elections in 2010, the Comelec official said.

He said as far as the Davao Region’s Comelec is concerned, everything is already in place, while waiting for the national office to send the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, ballots and other paraphernalia.

Balisado cited that there are two storage facilities in the region for the Comelec election materials.

One is in Tagum City that will hold materials for Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley provinces. The other storage house, he said, will be at the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines in the city to hold for Davao del Sur and also for North Cotabato. The latter is part of Region 12 but adjacent to Davao del Sur.

“PCOS machines will be transported here,” Balisado said, adding that there will be 1,400 PCOS technicians needed who will come from the DepEd or if not, outsourced.

The list of voters and voting precincts were already submitted to the Comelec in Manila, he added.

He said he is “still verifying and assessing the situation” on what to do in areas affected
by typhoon Pablo last December 4.

But he added that so far, there has been no recommendation from the Comelec national office to postpone the elections in any area in the region.

“As much as possible, it’s not really an intention of the Comelec to postpone elections,” he said. Doing so will entail another set of preparations, he added. But if postponement is really inevitable, he said he really needs “to coordinate with Manila about a second option.”

Balisado mentioned that concerns on electrical power on the day of the elections will also be addressed as the Comelec-11 already has arrangements with the Davao Light and Power Co.

He said the PCOS machine has a 12-hour battery for the election routine that will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., noting that there will be generators provided in cases of brownout should the process be extended.

Generators will be provided for areas that will probably have brownouts, including areas hit by Pablo, Balisado said.

Before typhoon Pablo made landfall in the region, the Comelec-11 had already submitted the voters’ list to the national office, he said.

Balisado said should the Civil Registry provide a list of deceased residents from Pablo-hit areas, particularly in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, then election officers will automatically delete the names from the voters’ list.

Asked about the voting centers in typhoon-hit areas, he said the Comelec will use the same building that the Department of Education (DepEd) has been using. “We will use what they have,” he added.

DepEd-11 spokesman Jenielito Atillo earlier said the DepEd is willing to offer their tents or “learning spaces” for the conduct of elections.

Teachers in those areas continue to hold classes in tents while waiting for the repair or replacement of classrooms to be finished. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)