More than half of barangay polls ballots printed

MORE than two weeks after printers started rolling, 60 percent of the official ballots to be used in the October 28 barangay elections have already been printed by the National Printing Office (NPO).

And according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), given the current phase, they expect the printing of the 54,051,626 ballots to be complete as early as by the end of the month.

"For the first time in a manual election, we are using the digital printing method. Because of this, printing, sheeting, cutting, and verification of ballots are done faster. Also, they are easily sorted per municipality, precinct, and province," said Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia, who heads the printing committee of the commission for the barangay polls.

"Our printing phase goes even faster after about two weeks of printing," he furthered during a press conference held inside the NPO compound in Quezon City.

As of Friday morning, the NPO reported that they have already printed an estimated 33,167,000 ballots already after it began printing last September 4.

Of these ballots, 15,952,915 have already been delivered to the Comelec for deployment.

"As of now, almost 60 percent of the over 54 million ballots have already been printed… most probably we can finish it this month," said Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca.

In printing, the NPO used the same machines that printed the official ballots for the recently-held May midterm elections.

According to NPO Director Emmanuel Andaya, this enabled them to speed up the printing process.

"We can generate about two million ballots a day since we are using two out of the three printing machines we have," said Andaya.

One printer is used to print regular ballots while the other one is to print the ballots for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm), which must have Arabic translations, noted Andaya.

In printing the ballots for the barangay polls, Comelec also uses the excess paper rolls from the May 13 elections and enabled to them to save as much as P148 million pesos.

But while premium is given on printing speed, the poll body assured the public that the ballots to be used in the October 28 elections cannot be faked or tampered with.

Guia said this is because Comelec has not overlooked on the need to place security features in the official ballots despite the absence of bar codes, which was the primary security feature of the automated election ballots.

"We have placed security markings in the ballots just like when we were still using the manual elections. So we have a mechanism to determine which are genuine and which are faked," assured Guia. (HDT/Sunnex)
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