Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Pitch to automate barangay elections

Two senators urged the Commission on Elections to computerize the upcoming barangay election later this year in selected places in preparation for the full automation of the 2010 presidential election.

Senators Richard Gordon and Edgardo Angara, authors of the Poll Automation Law (Republic Act 9639), said only the full automation of the election could end the charges and counter-charges of cheating that attend every election.

Gordon said it is about time that the antiquated system of manual voting and counting be done with. He said the slow counting of votes, which results in the delayed proclamation of winners, gives a window of opportunity to manipulate the results.

He is confident the full implementation of the poll automation law would reduce election controversies.

RA 9639 was enacted in February 2007 and was supposed to be implemented in 12 or so key cities in the May 14 elections. The Commission on Elections, however, said there was no more time to implement it. The poll body said that calling for bids, delivery of the software and hardware, testing of the technology, and training personnel to operate it would take more than the three months that was remaining then before election day.

Angara said the Comelec should immediately start calling for bids this month to give it time to pilot-test automated election in October for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials.

There are less than five months left before the barangay election, but Angara and Gordon are both confident that there is enough time to automate polls in selected places.

Gordon said the Comelec should consider the technology being offered for free by Botong Pinoy.

“As for the hardware, I propose that it be left behind with the public schools so the pupils could learn how to use computers,” he said.
By Efren L. Danao Senior, Manila Times

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