Poor communications signal in Lanao Sur slows down transmission of results

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 15 May) – The transmittal of results for the senatorial lineup from Lanao del Sur to Manila has lagged since Tuesday due to poor communications signal at the Lanao del Sur provincial gymnasium in Marawi City, poll officials said.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, only 30 percent of the votes from Lanao del Sur’s 39 towns have been transmitted to the computer servers for the Commission on Elections’ national canvassing of the at the Philippine International Convention Center.

The same communications problem nationwide has prompted the Comelec to cancel the proclamation of the 12 winning candidates in Manila.

Salic Ibrahim, head of the Citizens Coalition for ARMM Electoral Reforms  (C-Care), said the poor signal at the Lanao del Sur provincial gymnasium has slowed down the transmission, such that only 11 percent was sent to Manila Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, 30 percent have been transmitted but Ibrahim said progress was slow that it might take another day or two before all the results will be sent.

“As of Wednesday afternoon, the Board of Election Inspectors has turned its attention to canvassing the votes for the municipal level,” he said.

Fearing for their safety, Ibrahim said the municipal election inspectors brought all PCOS machines and results of the elections to the provincial gym for  canvassing and transmission – the usual practice in the past elections in Lanao del Sur.

Lt. Gen. Rey Ardo, chief of the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command, said he is concerned that this could trigger a repeat of the ” dagdag-bawas” in Lanao del Sur.

“The votes in Lanao del Sur can spell the difference for the 12th position in the senatorial race. It’s a great temptation for those who want to win badly,” Ardo told reporters when he visited the canvassing at the Lanao del Sur gym last Tuesday.

The gym was filled with watchers and BEIs who were tinkering the PCOS machines and reviewing the results on the gym’s dirty floor.

Security was very tight and everyone – from lawyers to watchers – have to run into a whole gamut of security procedures thrown by the police and Army around the provincial capitol.

Policemen, who have been on election duty for more than 24 hours, tried to catch some sleep in whatever position they can manage during the municipal canvassing of votes at the gym on Tuesday. All municipal canvasses will be held at the gym to ensure the security of the board of canvassers.

The municipal board of electoral inspectors brought the results to the Lanao del Sur provincial gym for transmission but found the signal transmissions “very poor.”

“The influx of PCOS machines slackened  the transmission of the results  to Manila.” Ibrahim said.