LA TRINIDAD -- Commission on Elections (Comelec) Regional Director Jose Nick Mendros led the demonstration of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in Benguet to educate candidates in the province.

Mendros, with Provincial Election Supervisor Ricardo Bulintao, conducted the first of a series of demonstrations with local candidates in the 13 municipalities in the province.

The workings of the PCOS machines were discussed and an actual demonstration on how to vote was conducted Wednesday morning at the Capitol with Governor Nestor Fongwan, Vice Governor Cresencio Pacalso, members of the Provincial Board and Benguet Police chief Rodolfo Azurin.

The initial demonstration was geared toward provincial candidates and the series of demonstrations will be focused on local candidates of each of the 13 municipalities in the province.   

The province pegs the highest number of voter at 197,031 with 405 polling places ready for May 13.  

Local bets started official campaigns March 29 with 45 days given by the Comelec to campaign. 

Meanwhile, Bulintao said the terrain of the province has been given consideration in the distribution of PCOS machines, as well as the availability of signals and Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) machines.

The BGAN is used in areas that have no available cellular signals. Last elections, the Comelec had 5,000 pieces of BGAN equipment at hand.  

In the last elections, the Comelec focused on Bakun, Kibungan, Buguias and Bokod towns here that have a weak signal. The poll body also prioritized the areas to get the BGAN machines.

Studies show that 30 percent of the country’s polling places do not have GSM (Global System for Mobile communications), forcing the Comelec to use the satellite network to send election results.