43,000 vote counting machines now in Philippines – Comelec

SOME 43,000 out of the more than 97,000 vote counting machines (VCMs) to be used in the upcoming May elections are now in the country, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Friday.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez noted however that half of the number are still in the custody of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

"There are now 43,000 units of VCMs in the country meaning to say they are in the Philippines right now. Unfortunately around 24,000 of them are still in Customs. Hinihintay pa din namin lumabas from Customs," he said.

A total of 20,244 are in the custody of the BOC and are now in their warehouse in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

"Of that number 19,739 have already been tested and accepted by the Comelec," Jimenez said.

He added that the commitment of the vendor/manufacturer of the VCMs, Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) is to deliver all the machines by the end of January.

He said that they are still within the timeline for the preparations in connection with the forthcoming polls.

"The status of our preparations, right now everything is still within the timeline so wala pa tayong pangamba. We are pretty confident that everything will still flow smoothly," the poll body official added.

Meanwhile, Jimenez said that printing of the ballots has been moved to early February.

"As far as the ballot printing is concerned we've revised the timeline a little bit so instead of starting on January 27...we are going to start printing on February 1. We want to be sure that all of the names that we are going to actually put out will be accurate to make sure na walang problems down the road. In any case that's just three days," he said.

Jimenez added that prior to the scheduled printing, they will come up with a partial list for the public to be able to check on the names that might be included in the final list.

"It's still an unfinished list but it will be a smaller list, let's say the list of everyone who filed their Certificate of Candidacy (CoCs). Just to be very clear that wouldn’t be a final list of candidates yet but we are getting closer to that," he said. (Sunnex)
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