Comelec: All systems go for tomorrow’s elections
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - May 12, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - It’s all systems go for tomorrow’s elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) assured the public yesterday.

“Let’s not be negative. I’m happy now. The elections will push through as scheduled, everything is in place now,” said Brillantes.

“Only an act of God could postpone the elections,” he added.

While they were not successful in their efforts to reform the electoral system, Brillantes said they “laid down the groundwork for the Senate and the House of Representatives to restudy several election laws.”

“I hope that somehow we were able to help. We actually wanted to awaken the sense of the people of this country,” he said.

He was apparently referring to the new airtime limit for campaign propaganda, purging the party-list groups and the money ban to deter vote buying, which were blocked by the Supreme Court.

“We may have been somehow hasty in doing things, we admit that, but the intention is there. I think everybody could feel that,” Brillantes said.

The Comelec also had been criticized over the delayed delivery of the certified source code of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

While the PCOS machines will function even without the source code, Brillantes said it was important to acquire the program and have it reviewed by political parties and other interested groups to eliminate “doubts on the credibility” of the elections.

18,053 seats up for grabs

There are 52,014,648 registered voters and a total of 18,053 positions to be contested in tomorrow’s elections.

To be elected are twelve senators, 233 congressmen and 58 party-list groups at the House of Representatives, 80 governors and vice governors, 766 Sangguniang Panlalawigan members, 143 city and vice mayors, 1,598 Sangguniang Panglungsod members, 1,490 municipal mayors and vice mayors, and 11, 932 Sangguniang Bayan members.

At the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, a governor and vice governor and 223 assemblymen will be elected.

Meanwhile, the Comelec said the National Support Center (NSC) is prepared to address concerns about the automated election system.

Poll officials gave reporters a tour of the NSC facility that serves as the command and support center for PCOS machines and the consolidation and canvassing system.

Genevieve Guevarra, assistant NSC manager, said there are 505 agents – 275 of whom will handle PCOS-related concerns and 100 will deal with consolidation and canvassing system matters – who will assist the board of election inspectors.

Rainy elections

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said there is a high chance of rain tomorrow in nine regions.

PAGASA forecaster Connie Dadivas said a high rainfall probability means that there is an 80 to 90 percent chance of rain, although it does not signify the strength of the rainfall nor its duration.

In a special weather outlook for tomorrow, the nine regions were identified as the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos region; Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Quezon, Western Visayas, Zamboanga peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao, South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City and  the Caraga region.

Cagayan Valley, Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have medium rain probability.

PAGASA said the tail-end of a cold front is affecting Northern Luzon while an inter-tropical convergence zone is affecting Southern Mindanao.

The Visayas, Mindanao and the Ilocos, the Cordilleras and Cagayan Valley would have cloudy skies with light to moderate rainshowers and thunderstorms.

Metro Manila and the rest of the country will be partly cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms mostly in the afternoon or evening.

Garbage-free elections

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) appealed to the public to observe garbage-free elections and urged candidates to ask their supporters not to leave trash in polling places and remove campaign materials that they posted.

“Let us not turn schools into dumps when we go out and vote on Monday. It is about time we change the face of Philippine politics with clean elections defined not only by an intelligent electorate, but a trash-free one as well,” Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said yesterday.

Paje said local officials should conduct post-election cleanup whether they win or lose.

The DENR earlier joined forces with the Comelec and the Department of the Interior and Local Government in launching the “Basura-Free Election 2013: Kalat Ko Sisinupin Ko” campaign.

The three agencies issued a joint memorandum circular to make sure that local officials, political parties, party-list organizations, candidates and their supporters would adhere to Republic Act  9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, during the campaign period.

RA 9003 provides for a systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management system through the adoption of environmentally sound methods like waste avoidance and volume reduction.

“The garbage-free campaign was intended to minimize and properly manage the volume of garbage from campaign materials during the national and local elections,” Paje  said. – With Rhodina Villanueva, Evelyn Macairan, Danny Dangcalan

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