Comelec-12 says ready for Monday’s polls

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/10 May) — It’s all systems go for the May 13 automated local and national elections here and other parts of Region 12 the Commission on Elections (Comelec) declared today.

Dennis Gerada, Comelec Region 12 election assistant, said all systems and necessary contingencies are already in place and they don’t foresee any major problem that might disrupt the conduct of the polls on Monday.

“We’ve almost completed the final stages of our preparations and we’re so far ready to go (with the polls),” he said.

He said the Comelec central office has completed the delivery of all election paraphernalia and materials, especially the precinct count optical scan or PCOS machines that were allotted for the region.

Comelec-12 has so far replaced all PCOS machines that were found problematic and resolved the technical problems encountered with some of them during their scheduled final testing and sealing earlier this week, he said.

In this city, acting city election officer Marlon Casquejo said they successfully conducted the final sealing and testing on Thursday of the four PCOS machines that they had asked to be replaced due to technical problems.

In Sarangani Province, the Maasim election office also completed the final sealing and testing for the lone PCOS machine that earlier failed to function properly and was eventually replaced by the Comelec central office’s national support center.

In Region 12, Comelec has assigned 2,843 PCOS machines for the upcoming elections.

Comelec Region 12 has established a total of 2,807 clustered precincts out of the area’s 13,999 original precincts. The total number of registered voters in the region is presently at 2,015,062.

In the 2010 national and local elections, the region only had 2,769 clustered precincts and 1,987,427 total registered voters.

Comelec Region 12 has jurisdiction over the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato as well as the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.

Although it is part of Region 12, the elections in Cotabato City are supervised by the Comelec in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Meantime, Comelec-12 information and education officer Gel Gerardino advised local voters to also prepare for Monday’s polls.

“Make sure that you’re familiar with the location of your precincts and your sequence numbers to avoid possible delays on election day,” he said.

Gerardino said they should bring valid identification cards just in case their identities will be questioned or scrutinized by the board of election inspectors and clerks.

During the voting proper, he said voters are not allowed to bring along any liquid drink or take out their mobile phones, specifically those with built-in cameras.

“The commission wants to maintain the sanctity of our ballots so taking pictures of it is strictly prohibited,” Gerardino said.

He said voters should not make any excess marks on the ballots and make sure that they properly shade the indicated oval spaces.

“It’s always helpful to prepare an advance list of the candidates whom we want to vote. Remember that we’re going to the polling precincts to cast our votes and not to make our bets for the lotto,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)