MANILA - In preparation for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (BSKE) elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has successfully loaded the first batch of ballots, consisting of approximately 6.67 million official ballots, onto three cargo trucks at their warehouse in Laguna on Wednesday.
These loaded ballots are intended for BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) and Region IX. The transportation of these ballots to their respective locations will take place in the early hours of Thursday.
Along with the ballots, other accountable forms such as canvassing forms, election returns, and indelible ink are also included in the shipments.
The ballots and forms will arrive at the port of entry in Zamboanga on October 11 and at the port of Davao on October 15.
When asked about the decision to use cargo trucks instead of air transport, Director Thadeus Hernan of Comelec stated: "We would like to be very cost efficient in our operations."
He said there is no airlift capable of carrying the entire cargo to its destination due to the maximum weight allowance given to carriers per airlift.
"Ito po kasi is totaling to 30 tons or 30,000 kilos. So imagine that's 10 airlifts from Manila," he said.
The dispatch of accountable forms will take place from October 5 to 20. The containers used for transportation are water-tight and air-tight to ensure the protection of the contents.
"Yung atin pong packages lahat po 'yan merong 3 layers of protection... So hindi po yan basta-basta mape-penetrate," Hernan said.
There will be 92 million manual ballots and around 27,000 automated ballots.
Comelec Chairman George Garcia emphasized that the exact number of ballots being sent corresponds to the need for manual voting.
"Eksakto lang ang balota na ating papadala dahil manual naman ito hindi naman automated elections," he said.
The shipment of ballots is being closely monitored by the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame.
Garcia further explained that distribution is easier for manual ballots compared to automated ones.
"Mas madali ang distribution kapag manual. Mas sobra ang extra ang high security ang kailangan kapag automated mga makina kasing kailangan," he said.
There have been around 5,000 show-cause orders issued and nearly 60 disqualification cases filed so far, primarily related to premature campaigning, according to Garcia.