PCOS machines arrive in Alcala, Pangasinan

David Lozada
Police officers secure the Comelec office at a municipality in Pangasinan as PCOS machines arrive

COMELEC SEAL. Alcala Comelec personnel check the PCOS delivery truck for the purple Comelec lock. All photos by David Lozada

ALCALA, Pangasinan – 36 precinct-count optical scan (PCOS) machines arrived at the Commission of Elections (Comelec) office in Alcala, Pangasinan on Saturday, May 4, as the municipality prepares for the upcoming midterm elections.

The PCOS machines arrived in a container truck sealed with the Comelec lock. Armed police officers assisted the election officials in receiving the machines.

The arrival of the PCOS coincided with the inauguration of the newly renovated municipal hall.

UNLOADING. PCOS machines are delivered to different areas. Parts are assembled in the local Comelec offices.

According to administrative aide I Frances Menor, the PCOS will be delivered to the clustered precincts of 26 different barangays on Sunday, May 5. “Sasamahan kami ng mga pulis,” she added. (Police officers will accompany us.)

Last Friday, May 4, the Comelec in Alcala gave the final briefing to more than 150 board of election inspectors (BEIs). The inspectors, mostly teachers, were given instructions on the different scenarios that could occur during elections.

Election concerns

Although there have been no recorded incidents of election-related crimes, the local races in Alcala are being closely monitored.

Outgoing Mayor Manuel Collado supported his party-mate Vice Mayor Pao Mencias Jr (Nacionalista Party) in the mayoral race over his own cousin Manuel Tolentino (Liberal Party). The municipal officials and the residents are divided between the two candidates.

Police officers have also set up various check points in the municipality to prevent any election-related violence from breaking out.

WELL-GUARDED. Police officers surround the COMELEC office as the PCOS machines are being unloaded.

According to some residents, vote-buying is also rampant in the barangays. The price of a vote ranges from P200 to P500.

Menor noted, however, that they have not gotten any reports regarding vote-buying. “Residents should really report if they know cases of vote-buying so that the Comelec can act on it,” she added in a mix of Filipino and English.

In an interview, mayoral candidate Tolentino noted that he has heard of such vote-buying cases in the municipality. “I won’t point fingers…but people had been complaining to me that there are people who offer them money for their vote,” he maintained.

Alcala has a total of 24,107 registered voters according to the Alcala Comelec. There are 36 clustered precincts in the municipality. – Rappler.com

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