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MANILA, Philippines – Exactly a week before the May 9 polls, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is testing the vote-counting machines (VCMs) for the last time in polling precincts.
This process, called the final testing and sealing (FTS), runs from Monday to Friday, May 2 to 6.
“Ang gusto nating gawin is siguraduhin na ‘yung ating mga makina ay bumibilang nang tama,” Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said in an interview with reporters.
(What we want to do is to ensure that our machines count votes correctly.)
Bautista on Monday observed the FTS at M. Araullo High School in Manila.
Explaining the process, Bautista said that the VCMs all have to be tested at least twice.
He said the machines had to first undergo the pre-logic and accuracy test or pre-LAT. This was done in the Comelec’s warehouse of VCMs in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
In the pre-LAT, Bautista said, the poll body checked for the first time if the machines “are ready.”
After the pre-LAT comes the FTS. Unlike the pre-LAT, the FTS is held in polling precincts, commonly public schools across the Philippines.
Bautista: Comelec better this year
In his interview with reporters on Monday, Bautista assessed the FTS in M. Araullo High School.
“Okay naman. Nakita naman natin na tama ang kanyang pagbilang ng mga bumoto,” Bautista said.
(It’s okay. We saw that the machines properly counted the votes.)
He also compared the performance of the Comelec in the elections this year and in previous years.
“Sa aking palagay ‘no, kung ihahambing natin ‘yung paghahanda ng Comelec noong 2010 and 2013 sa 2016, masasabi mong mas handa ang Comelec ngayon para sa ating halalan,” the elections chief said.
(In our opinion, if we compare the preparations of the Comelec in 2010 and 2013 to 2016, we can say that the Comelec is more ready now for our elections.)
The poll body is conducting the FTS as 10% of VCMs deployed abroad have already malfunctioned.
Bautista said the Comelec has already relayed these problems to technology provider Smartmatic. – Rappler.com