MANILA -- Several foreign observers were on hand to check on the automated Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) at the Pasong Tamo Elementary School in Quezon City on Monday.
According to Commission on Elections Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, the foreigners were invited by Comelec so they can take note of certain best practices as their respective countries plan to shift from manual voting to an automated system.
The international observers came from South Korea, Georgia, Uzbekistan, and the Maldives.
During the printing of election returns after the polls closed, Casquejo told the foreigners about the Philippines' plan to fully automate the BSKE as early as 2025.
"This is just a pilot test. We are planning, if this is successful, (in) the barangay elections for 2025, we'll be doing the automated Barangay and SK elections so that the result will be much faster than the manual elections," he said.
There were electrical glitches that temporarily halted the voting in two precincts at the school, with the vote counting machine shutting down three times following three consecutive power outages.
VCM technicians from the Commission on Elections and the electoral board chairpersons in charge of the clustered precincts assured those who voted prior to the electric problem that their records were not deleted.
Edna Bañaga, the Chairperson of the Barangay Board of Canvassers (BBOC), also described the power interruptions as "minor" issues.
Pasong Tamo Elementary School, where 32,000 people were expected to vote, is just one of three polling centers in Quezon City that was chosen by the Comelec to conduct automated elections as part of its pilot testing program.