Council of advisers on poll machines up and running
MANILA, Philippines—The Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) has been formally reorganized in preparation for the May 2016 elections.
Under the poll automation law, the CAC is tasked with recommending to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) “the most appropriate, secure, applicable and cost-effective technology” to be used in the conduct of the elections.
The council is made up of nine members from the Comelec, the Department of Education, information technology professionals, nongovernment election reform groups and the Department of Science and Technology’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) office.
Apart from CAC Chair Undersecretary Louis Napoleon Casambre, also retained in the CAC as representatives of their respective organizations were Undersecretary Alberto Muyot of the DepEd; professor Rommel Feria of the University of the Philippines (UP); and George Kintanar of the Chief Information Officers Forum Foundation (CIOFF).
The new faces on the council are Assistant Secretary Raymund Liboro of the DOST; Dr. John Paul Vergara of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV); lawyer Rona Ann V. Caritos of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente); Dondi Mapa of the Infocomm Technology Association of the Philippines (ITAP); and Angel Averia Jr. of the Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team (PHCERT).
“Our focus in the selection process for CAC members was on the nominee’s technical competencies, particularly in IT systems design, software and hardware design, as well as knowledge of the electoral process and electoral law,” said Casambre, who is also head of the ICT.
Meanwhile, the Comelec on Friday said it had yet to decide whether to use the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines used in the 2016 polls or opt for a new automated election system (AES).
In an interview, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said, however, speculation they would opt for the touch screen technology called Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) system instead of the PCOS machines was unfounded.
“We are reassuring the public that no final decision has been made yet. This is why we welcome this technology trade fair,” said Jimenez, referring to the AES technology fair to be conducted by the newly constituted CAC.
The poll body earlier said it would hold a trade fair for AES suppliers to explore its options.
At present, the CAC is evaluating the condition of the 82,000 PCOS machines to determine if they could still be used in 2016.
“The result of this activity will serve as an input for the CAC prior to submitting its recommendations to the Comelec,” Casambre said in a separate statement.
The poll body earlier said it was open to the possibility of using a new AES for the 2016 polls, which would mean junking the PCOS machines used in the 2010 and 2013 elections.
One of the options being eyed by the Comelec is the use of the DRE system but some groups are opposing this.
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