Davao Region to get 4,108 vote counting machines

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 Jan) – The Davao Region will receive a total of 4,108 vote counting machines (VCM) that will be used for the upcoming May 2016 national and local elections, a poll body official said.

During Wednesday’s AFP/PNP press conference at the Ritz Hotel, Commission on Elections (COMELEC) 11 assistant regional director Marlon Casquejo told reporters that these new machines will arrive sometime in March and April.

But he said some of the VCMs will arrive next week for the demonstration how the machines will be operated and for the briefings and trainings of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs).

Davao City will get the most VCMs with 1,280, then Davao del Sur with 600, Davao Occidental with 265, Davao del Norte with 801, Compostela Valley with 648, and Davao Oriental with 514. There will be an estimated 12,324 BEIs in the region.

Some 170,000 voters in the region have been deactivated from the COMELEC database after the Supreme Court dismissed the petition last December 16 questioning the constitutionality of the poll body’s “No Bio, No Boto” policy for lack of merit.

Of the voters without biometrics, 87,000, or more than half, are from Davao City while the rest from other Davao provinces.

The region has a total of 2,659,766 voters, which Casquejo said was only finalized last December 5.

Comelec records showed that Davao City has a total of 873,670 voters, followed by Davao del Norte with 525,343, Compostela Valley with 408,539, Davao del Sur with 373,692, Davao Oriental with 319,971, and Davao Occidental with 158,551.

The Comelec gun ban will start on Sunday, the beginning of election period, until June 8, or 120 days before and 30 days after election period.

The campaign period for local elections will start on March 25 to May 7.

Davao City Police Office (DCPO) spokesperson Chief Insp. Milgrace Driz, in an interview on Tuesday, said the prohibited acts during the gun ban – unless authorized by the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel (CBFSP) – include carrying of firearms and deadly weapons outside residence or place of business, and in all public places; to engage the services of security personnel; to transport firearms and explosives, including its spare parts and components.

Also, the issuance of firearms licenses, permits to carry firearms outside residence, permits to carry firearms outside residence for mission orders, letter orders and acknowledgement receipts has been suspended, ineffective and without force and effect.

Failure to comply will be penalized with imprisonment from one to six years, permanent disqualification from public office and loss of right to vote, and deportation for foreigners, but only after prison is served or cancellation of and/or perpetual disqualification to secure license or permit.