LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Smartmatic, automation partner of Commission on Elections (Comelec), will train technicians on handling and operating the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for the May 10 elections.

Alex Laurico, Smartmatic coordinator for Benguet said the training of about 400 technicians will start Tuesday so handlers of the PCOS machines will have a grip on the system for the coming elections.

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Laurico said the technicians need to have a technical knowledge so trouble shooting of the computerized contraptions will be easier once a problem in the system occurs.

“They do not have to be information technology graduates, but they must have some technical knowledge,” he said.

The training is geared to teach PCOS handlers the capabilities of Smartmatic’s machine, a paper-based automated election system (AES) slated to be used for the first poll automation.

Lauricio said there will be about 400 machines allocated for use for both Baguio City and the province. “There will be extra units to be delivered for back up, in case there is a bug down of one of the machines.”

At any rate, should automation fail completely, manual election could still push through by manual counting, where the 47 million ballots printed for the PCOS can still be used, the official said.

The training launches several meetings with PCOS technicians starting Tuesday until the election period. (Maria Elena Catajan)