Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Show plans for ’10 polls, Comelec told

Business Mirror

Sen. Richard Gordon on Wednesday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to speed up preparations and present specific plans including budgetary requirements to Congress for the conduct of the 2010 automated elections.

“The Comelec should be more focused and proactive in the preparations for the presidential elections. It must define workable timelines and clear processes so as to avoid the problems encountered in 2007,” Gordon said in a hearing of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Automated Elections.

He noted that the deliberation of the 2009 budget will be a good venue for the poll body to present its plans for 2009, “so we [Congress] can provide the budget to kick off the preparations for the 2010 elections.”

“Unless we start mobilizing next year, we cannot implement the automated elections on May of 2010,” Gordon said.

Elections Chairman Jose Melo said he expects the Technical Advisory Council to submit its recommendation on the type of technology that will be best for the 2010 presidential elections.

Gordon noted that Comelec should submit a recommendation on the budgetary requirements needed to prepare for the 2010 automated elections even prior to the submission of the report of the Technical Advisory Council.

Gordon earlier recommended using the biometrics technology to verify and authenticate the identify of the voters to prevent multiple registrants and flying voters from casting their votes.

“We anticipate that the cost of automated elections, especially the inclusion of biometrics system, will be a big factor in the deliberations. But if we want credible and honest elections, we have to make the necessary investment,” he said.

The automated voting machines used in the recent elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao did not include a biometrics system where the poll officials can match the signature, photographs and fingerprint of voters.

Vince Dizon of Smartmatic Sahi said the direct recording electronic (DRE) machines are capable of adopting a biometrics system to make it easier for the members of the board of election inspectors to validate the names on the voters ‘list with respect to the actual voters.

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