'PCOS snatching' possible in Mindanao

By Jewel Reyes, ABS-CBN Zamboanga

Posted at Apr 24 2010 08:28 AM | Updated as of Apr 24 2010 04:28 PM

ZAMBOANGA City, Philippines – If ballot snatching is easy during manual elections in Mindanao, “PCOS snatching” is also possible in the Philippines’ first nationwide automated elections.

Daryl Kinazo, election officer in Isabela City, Basilan, warned teachers, who will be acting as board of election inspectors, of the possibility of armed men snatching Precinct
Count Optical Scan (PCOS) voting machines.

If in case this happens, Kinazo told teachers during an orientation in Zamboanga City that they should just give up the voting machines.

“It is better than to have our teachers killed during the elections,” he said.
Kinazo believes that after the bloody attack on Isabela City last April 13, bandits may be planning a bigger attack and disrupt the conduct of the automated elections.
“What we knew and learned from the authorities was that it was politically motivated. Hopefully, an isolated [case],” he said.

Other than security, the National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) expressed concern over the increase in the number of the registered voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for the May 10 elections.
Guillermo Luz, national council member for Namfrel, said there is a noticeable 42% increase in the list of registered voters in Muslim-dominated provinces, compared to figures in 2004 and in 2007.
In a list, which presented by Namfrel during their dialogue with the Ulamas in Zamboanga City, showed that the voting population in ARMM increased from 1.2 million to 1.3 million in 2007, to 1.9 million in 2010.
Namfrel also saw an unusual increase in the number of registered voters in Basilan. There are now 230,459 registered voters in the province, a 27% increase compared to 2007’s 181,445.
“There are surely going to be problems in flying voters in these areas. We will need a good indelible ink in this part of the country,” Luz said.
The Comelec in Basilan was still in the process of distributing the Voter’s Information Sheet which arrived last week.