Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

ARMM polls to be automated, says Comelec

By Beverly T. Natividad

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will automate the August 2008 elections in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in preparation for the automation of the 2010 polls.

In a statement Friday, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the Comelec en banc has ordered the early implementation of the automated polls in Resolution No. 8415.
Jimenez said the use of the different kinds of automated election systems in the ARMM elections will help prepare the Comelec for nationwide implementation in 2010.

“[This] will allow the Comelec to evaluate the suitability of the two different technologies … preparatory to designing an Automated Election System for nationwide use in 2010,” said Jimenez.

The Comelec resolution provides the use of two systems in the automation of the ARMM polls: the Direct Recording Electronic technology and the Optical Mark Reader. The DRE allows for touch-screen voting while the OMR still requires a paper ballot but will be counted by specially designed machines.

For the August ARMM elections, the Comelec plans to use DRE in the province of Maguindanao and the OMR throughout the rest of the region.

The Comelec’s automation plans in ARMM, said Jimenez, had adhered closely to the recommendations of the Advisory Council except with regard to the use of the DRE.
The Advisory Council, he said, had recommended that the DRE be used in only two cities/municipalities in the ARMM but the Comelec decided to use it for the whole of Maguindanao.

The Comelec en banc had cited concerns that implementing the DRE on a small scale will not be enough basis for the poll body to see whether DRE-based elections will work nationwide.
Jimenez also added in an interview that Maguindanao was primarily chosen as a test area for the DRE because compared to other provinces in the ARMM, it has the most reliable electricity supply and telecommunication infrastructure.

“Maguindanao has a relatively stable electricity, meaning that majority of the day there is electricity. Its telecommunication infrastructure is reliable compared to other provinces in the ARMM,” said Jimenez.

Republic Act 9369 or the Automated Elections System Act, which took effect in February 2007, has created an advisory council, or a body of experts tasked to recommend to the poll body the kind of technology to use for the automation of the national elections.

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