PRECINCT Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines that will be used in the May 13 polls have arrived in provincial warehouses in the Cordillera.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) regional director Jose Nick Mendros said some 1,828 PCOS machines have arrived and are currently being placed in various warehouses in six provinces in the region.
Mendros said a final command conference with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on April 25 will determine the deployment plan to ensure the security of the machines and other campaign materials that will be transported to some 1,359 voting centers in the region.
Some 924,751 official ballots are also expected to arrive next week and will be kept in provincial warehouses prior to the Election Day.
The Comelec regional director stressed a well-planned deployment is important to secure campaign paraphernalia especially the ballots where a specific polling precinct will only have the specific and exact number of ballots as the number of voters.
He said the testing and sealing of polling precincts will be done by the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) together with their IT assistants to ensure that the PCOS machines have been working and are able to transmit the votes to canvassing centers.
After the testing of the machines, this will be configured to zero votes by the BEIs and sealed ready for use on May 13. The polling centers will then be secured by the PNP and the AFP after the testing and sealing process.
As an added contingency measure, the Comelec has also made arrangements for a spare PCOS machine to be assigned per municipality to replace any machine that could bog down or malfunction during the election.
With the rugged terrain of the region where some areas do not have access to telecommunication networks, the regional director stressed they have already prepared for these scenarios as PCOS machines that cannot transmit votes using mobile networks will use the Broadband Global Area Network for transmission. In places where both modes of transmitting votes are not possible, BEIs may opt for manual transmission of Compact Flash Cards to the canvassing centers.
The Comelec regional director remained positive that they are meeting targets and schedules in the coming polls with the continued arrival of campaign materials ahead of schedule compared to previous elections.