POLITICS has become more deafening as ever now that the campaign period for the national positions has begun. With political ads more often repeatedly shown and played making the political mood all the more present in our midst, they leave us with such an effect echoing in our minds.

It cannot be denied that every candidate is exerting the much needed effort to mark his or her name first in the list, the aspirants beautifully broadcasting their advocacies to attract as many votes as possible, from Christmas to nationalistic to original sound and even utilizing popular singers, rock bands and other entertainers of the time. We can even hear children singing or humming political ad jingles innocent of the essence and impact of the same to the country’s future, treating these jingles as mere ads like any other they see on TV or hear on the radio. Well, politics could be a source of entertainment for all ages.

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On February 6, 2010, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) conducted the mock elections in different parts of the country. This is to test the efficiency and reliability of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine which is to be used in the very first automated polls in the Philippines. In the City of Baguio, the mock elections were conducted at the Pines National High School and at the City Camp Youth Center. The event was attended by Comelec officers and Baguio City Liga ng mga Barangay President Hon. Joel A. Alangsab, who communicated the same to his constituents to participate in the mock elections involving his barangay.

Generally, the mock elections resulted in a success as to Comelec reports. It had to be; otherwise, a number of complaints would arise. Enough are the apprehensions of the masses in embracing this new technology in elections.

Anyway, it was a good thing we had the mock elections for all of us to witness and be aware of the problems that might arise during the elections. Obvious was the voters’ lack of orientation as to how to use the ballots and the PCOS machine. There is really a need to orient the voters regarding these matters for their votes not to be wasted by reason of ignorance.

Things may appear simple but proper orientation and practices are still necessary.

In response to the need to inform the people of the poll automation, the Comelec scheduled orientations in the 20 barangay districts in the City of Baguio in the months of February and March before the May 2010 elections, to wit: Districts I and IV-February 9; Districts II and V-February 11; District III-February 12; Districts VI and VII-February 13; District VIII-February 16; District IX-February 18; District X-February 23; District XI-February 25; District XII-March 9; District XIII- March 11; District XIV-March 16; District XV-March 18; District XVI-March 23; Districts XVII and XVIII-March 6 and Districts XIX and XX-March 13. A separate schedule in the morning of March 20 is given to Barangay Irisan, and Barangays Fairview, Central Guisad, Guisad Surong, and Pinget in the afternoon of the same date.

The orientation is a must and all registered voters are to participate. This is of course apart from the training that those who will facilitate in the elections must undertake. We should not take this for granted. If we value our votes, this is one way of guarding. Our votes are our voice. Be counted and be counted rightly.