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.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Comelec, military and police prepare for ARMM polls

More than a million registered voters are expected to participate in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections in August, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced Wednesday.

Comelec officials declared in a command conference at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Headquarters that the first-ever automated electoral exercise in the country would play a significant role toward achieving a fully automated system of elections in 2010.

“That is why there is a need to ensure that the upcoming polls will be peaceful and orderly,” Comelec Executive Director Jose Tolentino Jr. said.

Tolentino explained that 1,516,775 registered voters in the ARMM are expected to cast their votes in 1,903 voting centers throughout the region.

Comelec Chair Jose Melo presided over the meeting with officials of the AFP and PNP, including Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr., AFP Chief of Staff Alexander Yano, and PNP ARMM Regional Director Joel Goltiao.

“We are committed to work with the AFP and PNP to prepare all necessary security contingency measures to ensure a peaceful and orderly elections,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said.

He added that there would be consultations with other stakeholders in the ARMM election process in the next few weeks to ensure a smooth automated elections on August 11.

“We are optimistic that through the active support of the AFP and PNP, we can prepare to address security risks that may affect the election process,” Jimenez said.

Comelec Director Ernesto del Rosario said two automation systems would be tested in the region: the Direct Recording Equipment (DRE) and the Optical Media Reader (OMR) technologies.

The DRE system, which would provided by Smartmatic-Sahi, entails the use of a touch-screen machine that would immediately transmit the results to a primary canvassing center.

Del Rosario said the DRE technology would be tested in the contiguous province of Maguindanao.

The OMR system, on the other hand, would use high-tech equipment to scan ballots printed on security paper. It would be carried out in the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Shariff Kabungsuan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

“The results of the ARMM elections would show us which of the technologies would be better suited for the presidential elections in 2010,” Del Rosario said during the launching of the automation systems earlier this month.

The Comelec official said the technologies would enable the Commission to proclaim the winning candidates within 36 hours after election day.

“A mock election would be held on July 18 to test the new technologies,” Del Rosario said.

He added that the automation program would be evaluated from August 18 to August 22, a week after the ARMM elections.(Margaux Ortiz, INQ.net)

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