TO ENHANCE the voter education campaign in preparation for the May 2010 elections, Cebu’s business community invited Smartmatic-TIM to demonstrate automated counting at the “Choices and Voices for 2010: An Encounter with the Presidentiables” forum, which will be held at the Cebu International Convention Center from 4 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 22.

The forum is jointly organized by the three major business chambers in Cebu Province, namely the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and the Cebu Business Club (CBC), in partnership with the Aboitiz Equity Ventures and the Visayan Electric Company (Veco).

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Guests are encouraged to be at the venue by 3 p.m. to witness the demonstration of Smartmatic-TIM’s automated counting machine.

“As we move closer to Election Day, Smartmatic-TIM and the Commission on Elections are now undertaking a massive and nationwide effort to educate voters from all sectors on the automated process of voting,” said Smartmatic-TIM PR manager Gene Gregorio.

“We are pleased that our company will get a chance to demonstrate the use of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine before an audience of well-respected businessmen and community leaders in Cebu,” he added.

As of press time, six presidential aspirants have confirmed their participation: Sen. Benigno Aquino III, Joseph Estrada, Gilbert Teodoro Jr., Bro. Eddie Villanueva, Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. and Sen. Richard Gordon.

Businessman Bunny Pages, CEO and chairman of Pages Holdings Inc., will be the forum moderator for an expected crowd of more than 2,000.

Several groups have signified their interest to participate in the forum. These include Dilaab Foundation, Cebu Bankers Club, Philexport-Cebu, Philippine Retailers Association, Ateneo Graduate School of Business-Cebu Core Group, different local chambers and sectoral associations in the Visayas, and the leading universities in Cebu.

For security reasons, the organizers will strictly enforce the “no ticket, no entry” policy. Chamber member-companies and other private sectors are given until 6 p.m. today to claim their tickets at their respective chambers.

Event Chairman Carmel de Pio-Salvador said: “Thousands of supporters are also expected to gather at CICC’s parking lot to witness the presidential forum.”

“Security arrangements are underway to ensure an orderly and safe event,” she added. (PR)