Comelec: No turning back to manual polls

Posted at 03/28/12 3:17 AM

MANILA, Philippines - There's no turning back to manual polls for the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Comelec Commissioner Armando Velasco on Tuesday said he is not in favor of the open election system, where counting will be done manually while the transmission of results is automated.

Velasco pointed out that full automation minimizes human intervention and cheating.

The Comelec will use around 75,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in the 2013 elections -- the same number used in 2010 -- and at just under P2 billion.

The poll body said buying the pcos machines, instead of leasing them again, is cheaper.

The Comelec, however, said other services will be bidded out.

"The big difference today is only the software and hardware," Velasco said.

"In 2010 we almost gave to Smartmatic all the services, but now we will just exercise option to purchase only in software and hardware on all other services. We will be going to another public bidding," he added.

Former Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal, who is now external vice presiden of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), said information is key to the success of the next elections.

"Information is key here. Information dissemination, letting people know what has been done, what is to be done, and what will happen in 2013 to allay the concerns of some people," he explained.

To eliminate problems of long lines, the poll body plans to lessen the number of voters per precinct to 600. - ANC