Smart­matic: Phl now global leader in au­to­mated polls

The Philippine Star - - NEWS - By PAOLO ROMERO

The Philip­pines can now be con­sid­ered a global leader in au­to­mated elec­tions, ac­cord­ing to an in­ter­nal memo from Smart­matic, the sup­plier of vote count­ing ma­chines (VCMs) used in the May 9 elec­tions.

Smart­matic Philip­pines project di­rec­tor Mar­lon Gar­cia said the coun­try can be proud that it holds the record for hav­ing the largest man­u­fac­tur­ing and de­ploy­ment of VCMs not only in Asia but also in the whole world.

“I can’t tell you how proud and ful­filled I feel now know­ing that I’ve been part of such an amaz­ing and his­toric ac­com­plish­ment,” Gar­cia said in a memo sent to all em­ploy­ees and tech­ni­cians of Smart­matic a day be­fore the elec­tions.

He noted why the Philip­pines can now call it­self a leader in au­to­mated elec­tions.

He cited the con­fig­u­ra­tion of al­most 100,000 VCMs in just over one month; the re­cruit­ment, hir­ing and train­ing of more than 45,000 field tech­ni­cians in less than three months; the largest broad­band global area net­work (BGAN) de­ploy­ment in the world; set­ting up a call cen­ter with more than 700 op­er­a­tors in one month; set­ting up the most com­plex telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fra­struc­ture for the pri­vate elec­tion net­work in­te­grat­ing all the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion com­pa­nies in the Philip­pines and for­eign satel­lite providers in less than three months; and set­ting up three data cen­ters in one month.

The BGAN was used to trans­mit vot­ing re­sults from over 92,000 clus­tered precincts all over the coun­try.

Gar­cia also noted that Smart­matic achieved the “al­most im­pos­si­ble task” of print­ing 56 mil­lion bal­lots in just 49 days in spite of many hin­drances such as the un­fa­vor­able rul­ings of the Supreme Court.

The SC re­quired the Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions ( Com­elec) to print voter re­ceipts for greater trans­parency.

On elec­tion day, an ob­server from Indonesia said they may fol­low the ex­am­ple of the Philip­pines in con­duct­ing elec­tions.

“I’m here to see how peo­ple cast their votes and how they use au­to­ma­tion of elec­tion in a very good man­ner here. I can tell our peo­ple that if the Philip­pines can do au­to­ma­tion in elec­tions, why not Indonesia?” said Dr. Ab­dul Aziz Ah­mad, a for­mer poll of­fi­cial in Jakarta.

Gar­cia is­sued the state­ment af­ter vi­cepres­i­den­tial can­di­date Sen. Fer­di­nand Mar­cos Jr. al­leged that a “com­puter fraud” was com­mit­ted with the in­put of a com­mand in the Com­elec trans­parency server that caused his close ri­val, Lib­eral Party vice-pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Leni Robredo, to over­take him.

The vote count­ing for the vi­cepres­i­den­tial race stood at more than 96 per­cent as of press time, with Robredo lead­ing.

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