Poll Contingency Measures Set – Comelec

17 March 2013

MANILA, Philippines --- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has prepared contingency measures for possible problems in the May 13, 2013 polls, including the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines not working, a Comelec official said.

''We are preparing for an automated election. (And) we have contingencies in the event that something happens but not because of what they (critics) are thinking but it is just a requirement that we should have a continuity plan if something happens,'' Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said in an interview.

Comelec has issued the General Instructions (GI) for the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) on what they should do if they encounter problems using the PCOS machines, he said.

The commission en banc has also issued Comelec Resolution 9635 which adopts the Continuity Plan that will ensure the continuous operation of the automated election system (AES) in the May 13 polls.

''The Continuity Plan is subject to the Commission's power and authority to adopt, in exceptional cases, additional procedures in the voting, counting, consolidation, transmission, storage, custody, distribution and retrieval of accountable forms and paraphernalia to fulfill its Constitutional mandate to ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections,'' the resolution said.

The Poll Automation Law requires the presence of a Continuity Plan ''to cover risks to the AES at all points in the process such that a failure of elections, whether at voting, counting or consolidation, may be avoided.''

Poll watchdog group, KontraDaya, earlier urged the Comelec to train the BEI's on how to manually count the votes in the event that the PCOS machines bog down.