THE 82,200 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that will be used for the first-ever automated elections this May have been shipped to the country.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal told reporters Friday that the last two batches of PCOS units will arrive Saturday, one day ahead of the February 28 deadline set by the poll body for its election partner, Smartmatic-TIM.

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“This will be the last batch...There was a delay when the vessel set sail,” explained the Comelec official.

The machines will be coming from Suzhou in China and will be delivered straight to the warehouse in Cabuyao, Laguna where a series of tests are being conducted on the machines.

In a text message to Sun.Star, Smartmatic spokesperson Gene Gregorio said the first batch of 7,200 machines arrived at 7 a.m. at the Manila port while the last bulk of 6,380 units arrived at 3 p.m.

Smartmatic-TIM earlier said that all the machines will be shipped on February 21.

The first 7,200 automated machines were delivered last December 2009.

Smartmatic-TIM initially pledged to ship 42,200 units by November of last year but cited expensive shipping during the holiday season to cause the delay.

Out of the 82,200 poll machines, only 75,820 will be used in the May national and local elections with one unit per clustered precinct.

Comelec's election partner would have faced a P7.1 million fine per day if they failed to deliver all the machines today, February 28.

The delivery of machines is critical because without the machines completed, some provinces would have to resort to manual elections. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)