SECTIONS
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

‘Modem used for polls untested’

THE modulator-demodulator (modem) that came with the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines has not been part of the test process of the machines that were delivered, tested, and sealed on Thursday, a city election officer said.

City Commission on Election (Comelec) officer Atty. Palmer Palamine said the board of election inspectors (BEIs) did not connect the modem to the PCOS machines during the testing but assured the public that it will work out fine once connected to the PCOS machine.

Palamine said that the modem which will be used to transmit election results to the city election canvassers, National Computer Center, Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters ng Pilipinas (KBP), and Comelec.

Earlier, the modem failed to transmit thrice in the testing of the PCOS machines and mock election at City Central School on February 2 which was attended by Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca.

The modem only transmitted the result of the mock election when the PCOS and the modem were brought outside the classroom by a Comelec technician. The transmittal also used the modems from telecommunication giants Globe and Smart.

The technician said that the failed transmission was due to “poor signal.”

Padaca assured that the issue on poor signal will be raised in the meetings of the Comelec.

Palamine added that the Comelec conducted a survey on the signal strength on the wireless communication in Cagayan de Oro Ccity’s 80 barangays. It assured that the signal in the urban and rural barangays are sufficient and will be able to transmit the result.

Palamine assured that even in remote barangays like Besigan and Tumpagon have strong signals for the transmission of election returns.

The BEIs, after closing the election, will first print 30 copies of the result before the transmission of the election returns.

“If in case it cannot transmit, you already have the printed result beforehand, so everyone will know the result even before the transmission,” Palamine added.

Palamine added that if the result cannot be transmitted, the compact flash (CF) card will be removed then transported to the city board of canvassers where it will be inserted. Its election return will be then transmitted.

The CF card’s serial number will be read aloud so everyone can have the serial number, it will then be put in an envelope with a serial number, sealed, and transported.

The watchers and representative can check and match the result of the printed copies before it will be transmitted.

“So everyone is assured that what was transmitted is the same in the printed result,” Palamine said.

He also said the telcos have committed dedicated signals for the transmission of the result.

“By law and by contract with Comelec, the telecom is directed and liable for the strong signal in time of the election,” Palamine said.

Signal Jammers

Having a poor signal is not the only problem with the transmission of election results.

In a Sun.Star Manila report earlier in April this year, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas urged the public to report individuals using signal jammers on the day of the mid-term elections as these gadgets can disrupt the transmission of vote returns.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. told Sun.Star Manila that using signal jammers to sabotage the transmission of election results on May 13 is a criminal offense and punishable by law with at least eight years of imprisonment.
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