MANILA, Philippines – The poll body has decided to go manual in the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on October.
“The initial discussions of the en banc centered on manual counting. The main advantage actually of the machines is for faster counting and consolidation. For the barangay elections, we don’t need to consolidate the votes anymore. Therefore, it defeats part of purpose of automating the barangay election,” said Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal.
Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento earlier explained that the fund allotted for the polls is not enough to automate the more than 40,000 barangays throughout the country.
Larrazabal said that the Comelec has yet to decide with finality on this issue.
“The main arguments now are centered on whether we should do writing or shading of the votes just like what we did in May 10. Personally, I would go with shading just like what we did in May 10 against the writing which is prone to misappreciation of the votes cast by the voter,” he said.
Fine tune procedures
He added that they would like to use the barangay elections to “fine tune” the procedures for the voting.
“We should use this election to fine tune the procedures para 2013 it will be much better na,” he said.
The Comelec will hopefully release its proposed timeline for the barangay and sangguniang kabataan polls next week.
“We haven't yet released a proposed timeline. We’re going to discuss that on Tuesday. Siguro by next week we will come out with an announcement to that effect regarding the schedule of activities for registration, for filing of the certificate of candidacy, campaigning and other matters,” he said.
He, however, reminded that the regular registration for the barangay election is from July 15th to 25th and August 1 to 10 for the Sangguniang Kabataan.
Peace and order
The Comelec is also looking into measures on how to prevent any untoward incidents that may erupt prior or during conduct of the local polls.
Larrazabal said they will once again tap the help of the police to assess the peace and order situation of areas.
“Barangay elections is a different ballgame altogether because it gets to be personal. We have to look at it. I think at this point in time the best thing to do is to discuss this with the Philippine National Police because they would be in a better position to assess the peace and order situation, and the projection on the areas where there might be violent incidents and will go from there,” he said.
Meanwhile, Larrazabal is hopeful that the Comelec would be able to release the much-awaited voters’ ID by the end of the year.
“That is something we’re working on and hopefully will be able to do that,” he said.
According to Larrazabal, he is also one of the many Filipino registered voters who have yet to receive their voters’ ID.
“I'm one of those who have been waiting for years to get my voters ID so I empathize with them I know how it feels that I don’t have a voters’ registration ID. But, again, the voter's ID is not a requirement for you to cast your vote,” he said. - With ANC’s Dateline Philippines