Poll equipment arrive in Cebu
May B. Miasco (The Freeman) - April 23, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — At least 6,400 vote-counting machines (VCM) intended for the province of Cebu have already arrived here but these only comprise the partial number, according to an official from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Authorities are also taking extra measures in guarding this set of equipment to avoid tampering or alteration.

In an interview with reporters, Acting Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Jerome Brillantes said Cebu has a total of 6,716 clustered precincts, so the province is also expected to receive the same number of VCMs.

The standard ratio is one clustered precinct is to one VCM.

Brillantes said around 6,400 VCMs already arrived last Saturday and the remaining 316 may be delivered today.

This number does not include the more than 400 “contingency” VCMs from the Comelec head office that are appropriated to the different municipalities and cities here, if in case the used ones malfunctions.

Brillantes said the VCMs are kept safely at the LBC Express, Inc. hub in Mandaue City – the warehouse facility intended solely for the VCM storage.

He said the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) units beef up the security there; teams are deployed around the premises to make sure no trespasser can penetrate the facility.

He added that the facility is also equipped with 24-7 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras for close monitoring.

On May 10, the Comelec-Cebu province will conduct a synchronized final testing and sealing of the VCMs.

Brillantes said local candidates are invited to witness the May 10 activities.

The purpose of the event, he explained, is to check if these are functioning or if the VCMs are transported to the right precinct of a municipality or city.

He noted that a VCM is actually distinct to a certain municipality and city, as well as to a certain precinct.

Brillantes also said the ballots also go with the VCMs and should not be interchanged, that is why these are guarded carefully.

He said the ballots for Cebu are expected to arrive on the last week of this month or first week of May.

He added these will be distributed automatically to the individual municipal and city treasurer’s office which will take custody of the materials. (FREEMAN)

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