DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 3 May) – A simultaneous final testing and sealing of the vote counting machines (VCMs) has been scheduled on May 5 in the Davao Region in preparation for the May 9 national and local elections, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)-Davao said.
Lawyer Gay Enumerables, COMELEC-Davao assistant regional director, Enumerables said during an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Tuesday that the testing and sealing, which will be done at the polling centers throughout the region, were scheduled to find out if the VCMs are functioning properly and allow the agency to address technical issues before the election day.
She said the public school teachers would invite 10 voters within the polling center’s immediate environs to simulate the casting of votes, from filling out the official ballots and then feeding them into the VCMs.
Electronic results will be compared with the manual tally to check for any discrepancy or variance in the votes cast, Enumerables said.
She added that poll watchers from various political groups and Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) are expected to attend the final testing and sealing in the region, which has received more than 4,000 VCMs from the central office of the COMELEC.
Enumerables said COMELEC-Davao is anticipating some challenges on election day, including connectivity that may hamper the electronic transmission of results and peace and order situation of some places in the region.
“We do know what problems may arise but there will be glitches because there is no perfect system… There is a problem of signals for teachers. They can look for a signal within the school or at the place near the canvassing area,” she said.
She said the COMELEC has extended voting hours – beginning at 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. – to allow voters more time to cast their votes and avoid overcrowding in precincts amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Enumerables said there is no need for voters to present a negative swab test result or vaccination card to be allowed to vote. The COMELEC, however, will still implement minimum health standards such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks, as well as checking of body temperature.
Maj. Ma. Teresita P. Gaspan, spokesperson for Davao City Police Office (DCPO), said the VCMs have been delivered to polling precincts in Districts 3 and 2 while delivery is ongoing for polling precincts in District 1.
She said police officers have been deployed for election duties at the polling centers.
Gaspan said the city has deployed 2,000 police personnel for election duties, including providing escort to teachers in transporting the election returns to designated canvassing area. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)