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Comelec ready to hold demo for 2025 poll machines

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
Comelec ready to hold demo for 2025 poll machines
This file photo shows a vote-counting machine used by the Commission on Elections.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines —  The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has assured the public that it is ready to conduct a voting demonstration in Congress with the new machine that will be used in the May 2025 midterm elections.

Comelec Chairman George Garcia yesterday gave assurance that the South Korean service provider, Miru Systems Co. Ltd., would attend the next congressional hearing to answer all queries of the legislators.

“If Congress wants a demonstration, we will bring the prototype that was used in a demo conducted during the bidding and in the presence of mediamen,” Garcia said.

Trained Comelec personnel will handle the demonstration in Congress, he said, noting the poll body had been advised against conducting demonstration as congressmen or the public may think that it is the “final” prototype of the voting machines that will be used in the 2025 elections.

Garcia said the voting machines would go through customization phase, wherein all changes will be applied.

The customization of the 110,000 voting machines will start in April and is expected to be completed after six months.

Garcia denied allegations of “tailor fitting,” noting that Miru Systems will manufacture new machines that comply with the terms of reference issued by the poll body.

Questionable

The Comelec has drawn flak for choosing Miru Systems as service provider for the 2025 midterm elections.

This developed after questions were raised about the company’s handling of the elections in Congo and Iraq.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez questioned the qualifications of the South Korean-led joint venture, which bagged the P17.9-billion contract from the Comelec for the elections next year.

During a recent hearing of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, Rodriguez presented two separate reports coming from “independent third party sources” in Congo and Iraq that gave Miru failing marks.

Organizations such as the Carter Center, National Episcopal Conference of Congo and Church of Christ in Congo as well as the Alliance of Networks and National Organizations for Monitoring Elections in Iraq said Miru’s computers malfunctioned during the elections.

Reports said 45 percent of polling stations in Congo experienced difficulties with Miru’s electronic voting machines, while 70 percent of voting stations in Iraq did not work, prompting the Middle Eastern country to revert to manual elections.

“We don’t want that to happen to our country. The 2025 elections should be ensured by the Comelec and the contractor (Miru) to be flawless. But we’re reading Miru’s problems on social media and in papers,” Rodriguez said.

‘Target exceeded’

Meanwhile, the number of aspiring voters seeking to register for the May 2025 elections may exceed the Comelec’s target by half a million.

“Looks like the numbers may go beyond 3.4 to 3.5 million,” Garcia said, noting the poll body is only targeting three million registrants.

He said the Comelec received over a million applications in just a month since voter registration resumed on Feb. 12.

The registration will run until Sept. 30.

Data from the Comelec showed a total of 1,174,375 registrants filed applications from Feb. 12 to March 12.

Among regions, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) recorded the highest number of applicants with 213,757 followed by the National Capital Region with 174,954 and Central Luzon with 129,261.

Of the three million target applicants, around 300,000 are senior citizens, Garcia said.  – Delon Porcalla

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