COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) has released a revised set of the general instructions (GI) for board of election inspectors (BEIs) to address the possible shortage of ballots on election day.
Through Resolution 8786, the Comelec en banc said there is a need to revise its earlier GI to "fine tune the process and address procedural gaps" in the coming 2010 polls.
Under Section 37 of the revised GI, in case all the official election ballots have been used up and there are still registered voters inside a polling place to cast their votes, the BEI chairman shall issue a certification to the voter stating that he is a registered voter of the precinct.
The chairman shall also state that there are no more ballots for use and record such facts in the minutes.
A third member will then accompany the voter to the next precinct belonging to the same councilor district, where he shall cast his vote, the revised instructions cited.
The poll body has addressed the possible shortage of ballots after the voters' registration was extended by the Supreme Court (SC).
Earlier, Kabataan party-list appealed to the High Court to extend the voters' list-up to December 2009. Comelec reported that only 258,000 voters took advantage of the extended registration.
Comelec earlier said the number of ballots to be printed will only correspond to the total number of voters that registered until the October 31 deadline.
“We will not be printing ballots to correspond to the new registrants. We will just go on with the ballots that were already determined,” said Comelec spokesperson Jimenez.
The commission said that 50,723,734 Filipinos registered to vote in the coming national and local elections. Each voter will only be given one ballot on election day.
The revised BEI guide also states that voters will be allowed to feed the ballot to the automated machines four times instead of the original two when their ballot is rejected.
Comelec has also delegated tasks to Department of Education (DepEd) supervisors with the new GI.
The DepEd supervisors, in coordination with the election officer, shall, among other things, assist the voters in locating their polling places, supervise the crowd management at the entrance areas and maintain an efficient coordination with personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in case of need.
"Supervisors shall receive an honorarium of P3,000 and service credits for three (3) days of service (day before the elections, election day, and day after elections)," the GI cited.
One DepEd supervisor will be stationed per polling center (10 clustered precincts) and accompanied by one support staff.
Meanwhile, a teacher's group welcomed Sunday the Comelec’s decision to start the training of teachers on the use of the automated poll machines that will be used in the May 10 presidential elections.
Benjo Basas, president of the 30, 000-strong Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC), said the training would enable them to familiarize with the new technology.
“Teachers welcome this development, although quite late. They could at least have the chance to grasp the technical aspect of the system and could help the Comelec to educate the voters and general public on this Automated Election System which is an indispensable factor to raise the public awareness and confidence in the system,” Basas, a public teacher at the Baesa High School in Caloocan, said.
He said the use of the Precinct Count Optical Scan Machines (PCOS) will also help ease the burden on teachers compared to the manual election in the past when they have to do long hours at the polling precincts.
Starting March 4, the Comelec has conducted teachers training at the Las Palmas Hotel in Manila for Caloocan teachers, Eurotel in Ermita, Manila for Malabon teachers and at the Palm Plaza Hotel for Manila teachers.
The training in other areas in Metro Manila is expected to last until March 22. (Kathrina Alvarez/AH/Sunnex)