2022 Philippine Elections

Mock elections in NCR, 6 provinces set on December 29

Dwight de Leon
Mock elections in NCR, 6 provinces set on December 29

DRY RUN. The Commission on Elections simulates the 2022 polls at a school in San Juan on October 23, 2021.

Angie De Silva/Rappler

But why so late in December? A Comelec official says they cannot push back the schedule as the funds for the mock elections were included in the 2021 – not 2022 – budget

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will hold mock elections on December 29 in Metro Manila and six other provinces across the Philippines.

In a webinar organized by the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) on Monday, November 29, Comelec Deputy Executive Director Teodoro Elnas Jr. noted in his presentation that the target provinces are Isabela, Albay, Negros Oriental, Leyte, Davao del Sur, and Maguindanao.

In the National Capital Region, the cities that will participate are Taguig and Pasay, alongside the municipality of Pateros.

“There will be 100 actual registered voters who will participate in mock elections [in each area], which will be conducted right at the voting centers designated by the Comelec, by actual public school teachers,” Elnas said in a mix of English and Filipino.

He noted, however, that in Pasay, the maximum number of voters assigned in the precinct – which is 800 – will join the voting simulation.

Elnas said the dry run of the 2022 polls will be a test of the automated elections software (AES) system to be used for next year’s vote

“The mock elections will be the end-to-end demonstration of the whole process. We will test how accurate and secure our process, such as the transmission of results,” Elnas explained.

Why so late?

Ateneo School of Government dean Ronald Mendoza, however, asked why the Comelec set the mock elections on December 29, a time when Filipinos are preparing for the New Year holidays.

“Is it possible for the Comelec to move the elections for first week of January to ensure stronger participation from election stakeholders?” he asked.

Elnas, however, cited technical constraints that resulted in an end-December schedule for the mock elections.

“The Comelec’s budget for mock elections is included in the National Expenditure Program for 2021. It’s not included in the 2022 budget, so it’s difficult to push the schedule back,” Elnas explained.

The Comelec conducted a simulation of the 2022 polls back in October, but that activity was focused on identifying areas of concern in the poll body’s health and safety protocols amid the pandemic. 

Multiple election watchdogs called for a repeat of that dry run, as only 11% of the over 4,000 expected participants attended the activity. – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.