Long queues, faulty VCMs, power outages hound opening of 2022 polls | Inquirer News
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Long queues, faulty VCMs, power outages hound opening of 2022 polls

/ 09:09 AM May 09, 2022
long line voters

LONG LINE. Voters lined up as early as 6 a.m. outside the Carangcang Elementary School in Carangcang village in Magarao town, Camarines Sur province where presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo is also expected to cast her vote. Photo by Shiena M. Barrameda, Inquirer Southern Luzon

MANILA, Philippines — Voters encountered several issues—from power outages to faulty vote-counting machines (VCMs)—as the voting period for the 2022 national and local elections began Monday, but the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the polls will continue.

As soon as polling precincts opened, voters began sending reports on social media of faulty VCMs in their areas.

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Comelec acting spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said their office has contingency measures in place for malfunctioning VCMs.

“As we have emphasized before, contingency number 1, repair onsite. That’s the first thing that we will do. Meron pong technicians na itinalaga ang Comelec,” Laudiangco said in a press briefing.

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(As we have emphasized before, contingency number 1 is repair onsite. That’s the first thing that we will do. We have Comelec-designated technicians.)

“‘Pag hindi kaya ng technician, call the National Tech Support Center, meron po mag-a-assist mismo du’n sa technician para i-resolve ‘yan. If that cannot be resolved on time, get the contingency VCM. ‘Pag ubos na ‘yung contingency VCM, we will have to go or repair,” he added.

(If the technician cannot address it, we call the National Tech Support Center. Someone there will assist the technician to resolve it.  If that cannot be resolved on time, get the contingency VCM. If we no longer have contingency VCM, we will have to go or repair.)

Elections shall continue in areas with malfunctioning VCMs, said Laudiangco.

Laudiangco said ballots will be collected and a batch feeding—with the monitoring of watchers and accredited citizens’ arm—will be conducted once a functioning VCM is made available.

“In the meantime, what will happen? Tuloy po ang botohan. Hindi po hihinto. Pabobotohin po ‘yung tao. ‘Yun nga lang po kung sakali man, hindi po nila ma-e-experience mag-feed nung balota sa machine. Pero hindi po ibig sabihin na hindi bibilangin,” Laudiangco said.

(In the meantime, what will happen? Elections shall continue. It will not stop and people will be allowed to vote. But they will not be able to experience feeding the ballots to the machine but it does not mean it will not be counted.)

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“After po, ‘pag dumating na since nasa kalagitnaan na, iba-batch feeding po ‘yan later on under the watch of watchers and the accredited citizens’ arm. So wala pong reason para huminto ang botohan, magka-issue man po sa VCM,” he added.

(When the functioning VCMs arrive, we will batch feed the ballots under the watch of watchers and the accredited citizens’ arm. So there is no reason to stop the polls even if there are issues with VCMs.)

Aside from malfunctioning VCMs, an unstable power source is also hounding elections in Bukidnon.

Laudiangco said the Department of Energy (DOE) has vowed to address the issue.

“Magdi-divert po ng energy resources there (We will divert energy sources there). Knowing Comelec, we have Plan A, that’s Plan A. We have Plan B. We have the batteries. What we have Plan C? We also have generators,” Laudiangco said.

“So, wala po tayong pangamba pagdating sa sektor ng enerhiya. Ginagarantiya po namin na matutuloy ang eleksyon,” he added.

(So there is no cause for worry when it comes to the energy sector. We assure you that the elections will continue.)

/MUF

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TAGS: 2022 halalan, Comelec, Elections, halalan, power outage, VCM
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