Cebu News

Counting machines still incomplete

Bryner L. Diaz - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Twelve days before election day, only 523 of the more than 3,500 vote counting machines (VCM) needed in Central Visayas are yet to be delivered.

Commission on Elections-7 Director Jose Nick Mendros said the VCMs were delivered from the national center in Laguna to the regional hub in the Visayas but they have not yet arrived in Cebu.

Cargo forwarder 2Go was designated as the private courier to deliver the VCMs and its warehouse in Cebu was identified as the regional hub, from where the machines would be distributed to the provincial hubs in Bohol, Cebu, and Siquijor provinces.

Senior Superintendent Rey Lyndon Lawas, Police Regional Office-7 deputy regional director for operations, said they would be the ones to secure the machines and the storage area.

Policemen will be detailed in the hub while waiting for the machines to be delivered to the different polling precincts in the region.

“Depending on the schedule sa Comelec for the final testing and sealing and for deployment sa polling centers,” said Lawas as would be distributed.

Once the machines arrive, soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Central Command and policemen would be deployed to secure their delivery.

“We don’t have to worry we have security in place. From May 2 to May 4, starting from here we will be escorting from the moment it (VCM) will depart sa regional hub going to the different municipal treasurer’s office and voting centers,” Lawas said.

PRO-7, AFP, and Commission on Elections officials had met recently to synchronize the deployment of the police officers and the soldiers in the region to address the insufficient number of security personnel needed during elections day.

The election materials that would be used would not be delivered to the regional hub but will be directly released to the treasurer’s office of different cities and municipalities on April 29.

Mendros said the machines will only go online “for transmission” after each machine have already read and computed the results.

“Online lang ang machine when we are transmitting, after voting and after printing sa receipts,” Mendros said.

He assured that the transmission of the election results is secured by a 256 bit encryption code and the website will not be easily hacked.

In an earlier interview, PRO-7 Director Patrocinio Comendador Jr. said all security preparations are being carefully planned. – (FREEMAN)

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