Ballot printing machines are latest in the world–NPOBy Jocelyn R. Uy |Philippine Daily Inquirer
Touting its printing machines as the “latest in the world,” the National Printing Office (NPO) has confidently announced that it can finish printing the more than 52 million official ballots for the May 13 elections two weeks before the deadline.
At the unveiling of the printing facility that will be used for the production of the ballots Wednesday, NPO Director Emmanuel Andaya said the printing of the ballots, a crucial process in the elections, will be conducted under tight security and the watchful eye of a highly trained staff.
The printing of the ballots officially starts on Feb. 4. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) expects the NPO to deliver the printed ballots by April 25. But Andaya said the NPO was confident that they can beat the deadline and finish two weeks earlier.
The NPO has subcontracted the P780-million contract to print 52,017,360 ballots for the 2013 elections to the Holy Family Printing Corp. and its partner, Canon Marketing Phil.
In a speech at the event that was attended by Comelec officials, Andaya said “we want to tell the Filipino people that the NPO will contribute its major share in the conduct of credible elections.”
“We have prepared well and we will not fail you,” he said.
“The workplace you see before you has been transformed into one of the best in the country’s printing industry. The technology of the printing machines we chose for this project is the latest in the world and we are confident [that we can finish] printing two weeks ahead of schedule,” Andaya said.
The entire facility is covered by closed-circuit television cameras and all those entering the premises have to go through biometrics screening.
A viewing area has also been provided for visitors and observers who would like to monitor the printing 24/7, said Andaya.
He said the printing presses were calibrated and the operators underwent extensive training by German, Singaporean and local Canon engineers.
Three Canon Color Stream 3000 printers leased to the NPO is expected to churn out 314 ballots per minute, or a million each day, according to NPO Deputy Director Raul Nagrampa.
Nagrampa said all the ballots will undergo “100 percent PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scanners) reading,” that is, each ballot will pass through the precinct count optical scan. The Comelec has allotted 156 PCOS machines for the stringent procedure. The NPO has allotted a room adjacent to the printing area for the PCOS machines.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. and Commissioners Grace Padaca, Lucenito Tagle, Elias Yusoph and Armando Velasco, and Henrietta de Villa, chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) also attended the event.