Philippine Daily Inquirer

Snags in transmissi­on, delivery hit practice poll

- By Estrella Torres

STA. ROSA, Laguna—There was some confusion and delay in yesterday’s mock voting aimed at testing the transmissi­on and readiness of election machinery in selected areas.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said one delay occurred because ballots intended for Digos City in Davao del Sur ended up in Pateros town in Metro Manila.

Comelec Commission­er Christian Robert Lim said problems in the electronic transmissi­on of election results during the dry run occurred in one area in Manila.

He said the election canvassers had to step out of the school premises to catch a signal and transmit the results.

“They had difficulty transmitti­ng so they had to go outside (the voting precinct) where the signal was much better. I’m not sure what precinct in Manila but there’s one part there where they cannot transmit inside the classroom,” Lim told reporters.

The transmissi­on and readiness test covered four regions—National Capital Region and Regions 4,7 and 11 covering 34 polling precincts. The areas included Taguig City, Pateros, Quezon City (1st District), Manila City (5th District), Digos City and Bansalan in Davao Del Sur, Iriga City and Buhi in Camarines Sur, and Alburquerq­ue and Cortes in Bohol.

Lim said the Comelec found out about the switching of ballots from Digos to Pateros at 9:30 a.m., prompting personnel to fly to Davao del Sur to deliver the ballots.

“The official ballots intended for Digos went to Pateros. So what we did was we just reprinted the ballots for Pateros at the National Printing Office since it was only around 50,” he said in an interview at the Comelec warehouse in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, which served as the canvassing site.

“For Digos, what we did was we pulled out the ballots…in fact, the guys were boarding the plane to Davao around 10 or 10:30 a.m. so the voting could go on,” Lim said.

The transmissi­on of the votes in the May 9 elections will be via two modes—through SimCards or, in areas where there are no commercial signals, through Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN).

The Comelec has identified 6,000 precincts nationwide with transmissi­on problems that will require the use of BGAN.

But the poll agency has only 693 BGAN satellites so some precincts would have to share them to transmit their results.

Lim said the Comelec will deliver more than 50 million ballots and other election parapherna­lia to precincts by April 25.

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