ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - A gubernatorial aspirant of Tawi-Tawi, the southernmost chain of islands’ province, expressed concern over the possible deferment of the conduct of election as not all Precinct Count Optical scanner (PCOS) machines have been delivered for deployment in remote islands.
Lawyer Querino Esguerra, counsel for gubernatorial aspirant and incumbent Tawi-Tawi Rep. Nur Jaafar, said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Bongao has yet to deliver the PCOS machines to their designated areas such as Mapun Island, Taganak and many other islands as the number of the polling machines remains incomplete.
The private forwarder that was contracted by the Comelec to deliver the PCOS machines has yet to arrive in Bongao where all the machines will be stored before deployment for testing and sealing in the island municipalities.
“I don’t think the Comelec here in Bongao is doing its job well considering it has not yet deployed the PCOS machines and this would create problems. And we are very much apprehensive of the possible delay of the elections,” Esguerra said.
Citing Comelec Resolution 9640, the PCOS machines should be deployed Tuesday for the testing and sealing from Wednesday to Friday before the polls on Monday.
He said since the PCOS machines will be deployed through motor launch it would take a day to reach Mapun Island and Taganak and several hours for the rest of the island municipalities.
“How can you have that testing and sealing of PCOS machines if the PCOS machines are not still complete in Bangao and have not been deployed yet?" Esguerra said.
Rey Somalipao, Comelec director for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said the delivery of the PCOS machines will be completed Tuesday afternoon and assured the public that there will be no delay in the deployment of the polling machines.
“We have already anticipated and measures have been considered to ensure we will be on time for the preparation of the testing and sealing in those areas,” Somalipao added. - Roel Pareño