MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) still has more than enough time to print the required number of ballots despite reported stoppage of printing.
“We are just beginning. Maintenance was one of the reasons [for the stoppage], there are others which are technical [but] there have not been any major problems,” Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. told reporters Friday.
Around 52 million ballots need to be printed by the National Printing Office (NPO) for the May 2013 midterm elections.
“There is more than enough time” before the target deadline to complete printing by the end of March, Brillantes said.
Even if there were delays, they still have up to April 25 as a final deadline giving them an allowance of about three weeks, he said.
An estimated one million ballots have been printed so far since the NPO began printing earlier this week. Brillantes has said that it was less than what he expected.
NPO has said it could print 650,000 ballots per day initially but can ramp it up to one million ballots per day once printing goes full swing.
Three brand new printing machines, manned by 42 technical engineers, are running at least 18 hours each day in the NPO. The machine would only pause when the paper needs to be reloaded and when it has to undergo routine checkup and maintenance.
“The brand new printers have only been used now,” Brillantes said. “We can’t rush it. After 15 days it will be continuous already.”