MANILA, Philippines - The provincial governor of Abra on Friday called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to prepare for special elections in some parts of the province because of the expected delay of new configured compact flash cards for voting machines.
Abra Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin said the flash cards that were supposed to arrive in Abra on Thursday have not arrived.
Bersamin said several areas in the province are very remote and even if the flash cards arrive on Friday morning, they may not be able to reach polling centers on time for the May 10 automated elections.
ABS-CBN News correspondent Ron Gagalac reported that the farthest town in the province is Tineg.
Gagalac said land travel to Tineg town can take 12 hours and people who would be delivering the flash cards would have to walk 3 days to reach polling centers that are in very remote locations.
The governor said the flash cards may not be delivered to Tineg town until late Monday or Tuesday morning.
Smartmatic Southeast Asia president Cesar Flores said Thursday that new memory cards were supposed to be delivered to Abra and other provinces including Antique, Bohol, Capiz, Guimaras, Batanes, Quirino, Makati, Parañaque, Marikina, Batangas, and Palawan.
Flores said that flash cards being configured at their main warehouse in Laguna province may not reach all the polling centers on time due to security and logistical challenges.
He said the worst that can happen is that the memory cards will arrive in the polling centers on election day itself.
The areas include all municipalities in Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Basilan, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Misamis Occidental, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.
Other places where the delivery of the flash cards will be delayed are in Toboso, Negros Occidental; Divilacan, Maconaco and Palanan towns in Isabela; Calayan, Cagayan; and Baliguian, Sibuco, Siocon and Sirawai towns in Zamboanga del Norte. – Report from Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News