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Comelec ready for Bangsamoro plebiscite

/ 06:41 AM February 06, 2014

Comelec office. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it will be “ready” to hold a plebiscite in the South—when and if Congress enacts the basic law that would create the so-called “Bangsamoro entity” before President Aquino steps down in 2016.

“Will the Comelec be ready? Yes, of course, that is after all our mandate,” said Comelec spokesman James Jimenez at the weekly Fernandina forum.

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However, whether or not the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) that were used in previous poll exercises would again be utilized in the theoretical plebiscite is something that will have to be discussed, said Jimenez.

The use of PCOS machines, after all, would require that all “logistical issues” be resolved first, he said.

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These include the issue of how to transport additional PCOS machines from the “different staging areas” in Luzon to the South, he said. One PCOS machine services around 1,000 voters, he said.

“So if you want the (number of voters serviced by one machine) to be smaller so the (voting) process is faster, you will add more PCOS machines (there),” he said.

At the very least, the number of PCOS machines in Mindanao, if the plebiscite pushes through, should be double the number of machines that were used in previous elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Jimenez said.

Although he could not give an estimate of the number of machines used in previous ARMM elections, he said there were around two million registered voters in the ARMM at present.

“But that’s the issue. We don’t know which (places) will be included in the (theoretical) plebiscite. So it is rather difficult to determine how many voters (will participate),” he said.—Kristine Felisse Mangunay

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TAGS: Bangsamoro plebiscite, Comelec, peace process, Philippines
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