MANILA, Philippines - A Commission on Elections (Comelec) official said Friday that the late training of teachers in operating the voting machines for the 2010 automated elections was intentional.
Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said they feel that the teachers would forget the things they would learn in the precinct optical scan (PCOS) training if it was done earlier.
"The training was designed to be done in March so that it would still be fresh. If you do it early, they (teachers) might forget," Larrazabal told radio dzMM in an interview.
Comelec's legal chief, Ferdinand Rafanan, had also brushed aside issues raised by teachers on the late PCOS training.
Rafanan said teachers would only be taught to input a 2-password security key into the PCOS voting machines.
"After that they would be doing nothing. Almost 90 percent of their task in the  elections would still be manual," he said.
The training of teachers in operating the PCOS machines has been moved to March 1, less than 2 months before the May 10 elections. Rafanan said the Comelec is confident that the teachers' training would be concluded in one month.
Meanwhile, Larrazabal said the Comelec is expecting that all 82,000 PCOS machines would be delivered on February 21.
He said that the Comelec has a scheduled conference with officials of the Department of Education on the same date. The conference would tackle the main responsibilities of teachers, who will act as Board of Election Inspectors in the automated elections on May 10.
Several groups have raised fears of a failure of elections because of the delays on the Comelec's election calendar. The delays have been attributed to the delayed delivery of the PCOS machines from China that are being produced by the winning bidders' group, Smartmatic-TIM.
Teachers also fear that they would be used as scapegoats in case confusion mars the automated elections, which would be a first in Philippine electoral history.