Comelec: Success in PCOS field test

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Saturday, January 26, 2013


THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) declared on Saturday a success in the first official field testing of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines despite suffering some delays in the process.

In an interview, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez reported that they found the activity successful since a clear majority of the test sites were able to seamlessly transmit the results from the PCOS machines to the central server.

“So far, we believe it was a successful field test. We don’t call it a failure since we have a contingency for those that are not yet able to transmit the results and they are still being tried,” Jimenez said.

The field tests were held Friday by the Comelec in nine areas, namely Metro Manila (Taguig and Pateros), Benguet, Palawan, Cebu, Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Sur, South Cotabato, Maguindanao, and Antique, with each having two municipalities involved.

The activity was conducted in order for the Comelec accurately gauge the capacity of the electronic transmission services in sending the results of the elections from the field to the central server as well as to the higher level of canvassing centers, namely the municipal/city board of canvassers (MBOC), and the Provincial Board of canvassers (PBOC).

During transmission, the results from the PCOS are set to go through the step-by-step canvassing levels while also sending the results directly to the main server.

According to Jimenez, as of Saturday afternoon, the step-by-step transmission process showed that of the 18 municipalities identified as remote sites, only 14 were able to successfully send from the municipal level to the main server.

He added that the direct transmission from the PCOS machines to the main server had 28 out of the 36 areas successfully sent the electronic results.

Jimenez said the contingency includes the use of the different subscriber’s identity module (SIM) cards in transmitting the results to the main server.

“We are not closing the door on possible future field tests if need be. Fortunately, we are satisfied with this one that we had… but if not, for sure we can conduct another field testing,” he added.

The official noted that the Project Management Office of the Comelec has yet to release information on which areas suffered the delays in transmission.

Jimenez said they are now looking forward to next week’s mock elections in order for them to see other aspects of the elections they need to prepare for such as the involvement of actual voters in the process.

Meanwhile, the Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) scored the Comelec for making the field test activity close for media coverage.

The perennial PCOS critics said that in doing so, the Comelec can be accused of being non-transparent and denying public the right access to important election-related information.

AES Watch, however, said they are not surprised with the decision of the commission to make it “an internal activity” since it has been a constant scenario since the PCOS machines were introduced in the Philippines in 2010. (HDT)

Local news

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