COMELEC CL affirms readiness for 2022 polls

, COMELEC Assistant Regional Election Director Elmo Duque

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — Preparations of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Central Luzon for the 2022 National and Local Elections are in full swing.

In a virtual press conference, COMELEC Assistant Regional Election Director Elmo Duque said all systems go for the conduct of the polls on May 9. 

“As far as COMELEC is concern, our preparation is periodic, meaning that we do what is scheduled to be done. Based on this, we can say that we are ready because we are accomplishing all activities that have been set on a day-to-day basis. Our Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Education (DepEd), and various agencies are ready for the conduct of a comprehensive election,” he stressed. 

As part of this preparation, Duque said they have already conducted a series of training for poll workers including 3,901 DepEd Supervisor Official (DESO) Training Support Staff on February 21-25; 21,986 members of the Electoral Boards (EBs) on March 1-31; and 548 Board of Canvassers on April 4-16. 

“These include teachers, information technology personnel, election officers, provincial/city/municipal treasurers, and fiscals who will render duty before, during, and after May 9,” he said. 

A total of 66,409 EBs and support staff will be deployed in the region composed of 32,979 EBs; 21,986 EB Support Staff; 5,722 DESO Support Staff; 2,861 DESO; and 2,861 medical personnel.

Also, part of COMELEC’s preparation is its constant coordination with AFP and PNP to ensure a secure and peaceful elections in the region. 

“Based on COMELEC Resolution 10755, our uniformed personnel will provide security deployment to 2,863 polling places in the region, as well as to COMELEC officials. Come May 1-3, we are expecting the deployment of 10,993 vote counting machines (VCMs) in Region 3. That is also one of our requests to AFP and PNP to secure these machines,” he said. 

Of the 10,993 VCMs, 2,878 will be deployed in Bulacan, followed by Nueva Ecija with 2,378 VCMs; Pampanga—2,356; Tarlac—1,412; Bataan—861; Zambales—829; and Aurora—279. 

Meanwhile, final testing and sealing of VCMs, according to Duque, will be done on May 3-7; while the delivery of official ballots will be on May 3 at the Provincial Treasurer’s Office. 

The deployment of the 137 Consolidated Canvassing System (CCS) and CCS Kits will be on May 7. 

Aside from these, the COMELEC official assured that they have contingency plan in place for incidents like power outage, poor internet connectivity, and the threat of Covid-19. 

“For power outages, we have programmed our VCMs to auto play for 18 hours even without electricity so that should not be a problem. For poor connectivity, the EBs will just have to move to the next polling center where the signal is strong to transmit the election results. We will also tap the police to guard the cell sites so that lawless elements do not blow up or sabotage them,” he said. 

He added that they have set up reconfiguration hubs per province now, compared to only one regional center during the previous elections.

For the 11 polling centers without electricity, Duque said the Municipal Treasurer’s Office in that area will supply power generator sets for the elections. 

Meanwhile, he also assured the public that they have isolation polling centers for voters who will be exhibiting Covid-like symptoms, as he urged the public to follow minimum public health standards such as submitting to temperature scanning, physical distancing, and wearing of face masks and face shield. 

Central Luzon has a total of 7,289,791 registered voters for the 2022 polls, which is 6.74 percent more than the 2019 elections. 

It has a total of 45,094 established precincts; 10,993 clustered precincts; and 2,863 voting centers.

SOURCE: Marie Joy S. Carbungco PIA3