Makeshift vote centers seen in ‘Pablo’ areas

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DAVAO CITY—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Southern Mindanao said it would establish makeshift voting centers in areas hardest hit by Typhoon “Pablo” because flattened school buildings, used as voting centers in the past, were still to be rebuilt.

But this early, Comelec Regional Director Wilfred Jay Balisado already made it clear that the safety of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines was their utmost concern.

Balisado said a slight change in weather pattern might  cause the operation of the PCOS machines to be held in abeyance in at least four towns in Compostela Valley and several others in Davao Oriental because exposing the machines to rains would be very costly.

“We have to turn the PCOS machines off if it rains because it will be damaged if we let it get wet,” he told reporters here.

The balloting will resume after the rain, Balisado said.

“There is nothing wrong if the voting process will be temporarily stopped during rainfall,” he said.

Balisado said in case some of the machines malfunction during the elections, the Comelec would replace them. All municipalities in the region, Balisado said, would be provided with extra PCOS machines as backup.

He said the poll body would also be sending power generation sets to each town so these could be used in case of power outages. Election officers were also asked to buy emergency lighting systems.

Balisado said the decision of the Comelec to put up makeshift voting centers in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental was enough proof the elections in these two areas would be held as scheduled, contrary to rumors the balloting there will be rescheduled.

The rumors were fueled by the lack of school building to be used as voting centers.

When Pablo struck the two provinces in December, many school buildings were flattened.

Balisado said Comelec was all set for the May 13 elections and that all the PCOS machines and ballot boxes to be used in the region had arrived. Judy Quiros, Inquirer Mindanao

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