Com­elec in­tro­duces ‘en­hance­ments’ in source code of auto polls

The Philippine Star - - NEWS - By SHEILA CRISOSTOMO

The Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions (Com­elec) yes­ter­day an­nounced some “en­hance­ments” have been in­tro­duced in the source code of the au­to­mated elec­tion sys­tem (AES) for the May 2019 polls.

Com­elec spokesman James Jimenez, the fo­cal per­son of the Com­elec’s Lo­cal Source Code Re­view Com­mit­tee, said the en­hance­ments were rooted out from the “great in­puts and great ideas” of those who did the lo­cal re­view in the 2016 polls.

“The pur­pose of the re­view is not to re­write the pro­gram. We were able to get the in­put and feed it for­ward so that when we im­prove the sys­tem for next im­ple­men­ta­tion, the sug­ges­tions are al­ready in­cluded,” he said.

Com­elec yes­ter­day kicked off the lo­cal re­view of the source code at the De La Salle Univer­sity cam­pus in Taft Av­enue, Manila.

Jimenez said at least 20 in­di­vid­u­als from six groups will par­tic­i­pate in the re­view which will run from Oct. 17 to Dec. 14.

Un­der Repub­lic Act 9369 or the poll au­to­ma­tion law, lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional source code re­views must be con­ducted to make sure the AES will func­tion as they have been pro­grammed.

In a pre­sen­ta­tion, Com­elec In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy De­part­ment head Jean­nie Floror­ito said the re­view is aimed at en­sur­ing the source code is clean and there are no em­bed­ded ma­li­cious codes.

Florotito said one of the ma­jor en­hance­ments in­volved is the voter ver­i­fi­able pa­per au­dit trail (VVPAT).

Also known as pa­per re­ceipt, VVPAT is pro­duced by the vote count­ing ma­chines af­ter a voter has in­serted an ac­com­plished bal­lot.

Since the VVPAT was or­dered by Congress to be in­cluded in the AES close to Elec­tion Day, the pa­per re­ceipts did not con­tain precinct num­ber and ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion.

But for next year’s polls, Florotito said these fea­tures will al­ready be in­cluded.

The other en­hance­ments in­clude sim­pli­fy­ing and im­prov­ing the op­er­a­tions of the Elec­tion Boards and Board of Can­vassers and im­prove­ment of the log reg­istry.

Mean­while, a lo­cal Com­elec of­fi­cial urged aspiring can­di­dates to file early to avoid get­ting in­con­ve­nienced.

Makati City elec­tion of­fi­cer An­thonette Aceret re­minded can­di­dates that the Com­elec will not ac­cept cer­tifi­cates of can­di­dacy (COCs) be­yond 5 p.m. on the last day of fil­ing.

But she said if there is an over­whelm­ing num­ber of per­sons who will ar­rive at the Com­elec of­fice just a few min­utes be­fore clos­ing time, their names and their COCs will be put on record and they will be ac­cepted for fil­ing.

She said a lot of aspiring can­di­dates file their COCs late as they are still wait­ing for the ad­vice of their feng shui ex­perts, among other rea­sons.

In the case of Makati Mayor Abby Binay, she said she will file her COC next week as they are still fi­nal­iz­ing the de­tails with some feng shui ex­perts that they have been con­sult­ing.

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