THE Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) assured on Friday that they will assign personnel to secure vote counting machines (VCMs) when it will be deployed to different polling places in the province starting next week.

Senior Inspector Gerard Pelare of CPPO said: “As of now, we are almost 100 percent ready. The only thing that we will do is to deploy personnels when the VCM will arrive in their respective areas.”

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Two police officers will be assigned to every voting center in the province, Pelare said during a meeting with the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) at the Provincial Capitol on Friday.

He said the two police officers will be deployed to ensure the security of the polling center and safety of the VCMs.

Pelare added that policemen will also be assigned to serve as escort when the VCMs are transported to different towns and cities in the province.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) earlier said they will start delivering the machines in different voting places around the province between May 2 and 4.

Lawyer Eliseo Labaria, Comelec-Cebu election supervisor, on Friday said they will distribute the VCMs first to distant areas, such as Camotes Island and Bantayan Island.

The VCMs arrived in Cebu last Monday, April 25, and are stored in a warehouse in Mandaue City. Members of the Special Weapons and Tactics were assigned to properly secure the machines.

Labaria said ballots and other voting paraphernalia are expected to arrive in the province next week, and will be stored at the Cebu City Treasurer’s Office.

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The Comelec said 7,048 VCMs will be used during elections in Central Visayas and Negros Oriental, with 4,066 VCMs going to different polling centers in Cebu province. (Elizah Marie dela Rosa, Cebu Normal University intern/With Sun.Star Cebu/Sunnex)