2022 Philippine Elections

PPCRV readies election monitoring operations to fight ‘dagdag-bawas’

Dwight de Leon
PPCRV readies election monitoring operations to fight ‘dagdag-bawas’

MOA SIGNING. The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting rekindled its partnership with AMA Education System on March 28, 2022 for the May 9 elections.


PPCRV partners again with AMA in mounting a command center, where volunteers will encode election returns that will be picked up before vote-counting machines start transmitting results

MANILA, Philippines – The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the accredited citizen’s arm of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), rekindled its partnership with a private education conglomerate on Monday, March 28, as the poll watchdog readies its command center for the 2022 elections.

PPCRV readies election monitoring operations to fight ‘dagdag-bawas’

PPCRV, for the fifth straight election, teamed up with AMA Education System, which will lend the poll watchdog its computers, and provide information technology support and student manpower.

The PPCRV has transferred its command center in Manila, from Pope Pius XII Catholic Center to a bigger space at the University of Santo Tomas, to better enforce minimum health safety standards amid the pandemic.

After voting ends on May 9, PPCRV’s volunteers across the country will pick up election returns (ERs) from some 106,000 clustered polling precincts. These ERs will be delivered to the command center in UST, where these will be encoded by about 200 volunteers per day for a period of 10 days.

“What we do in the command center is we match via encoding the results in the ERs to that which the vote-counting machine transmitted electronically. Since our ERs were picked up before transmission, what we are trying to ensure is no dagdag-bawas (vote-padding and vote-shaving) is happening,” PPCRV chairperson Myla Villanueva said.

The PPCRV targets to register 500,000 volunteers for the May 9 vote, but so far, the group only has around 350,000.

Those interested to volunteer may sign up here.

On Smartmatic ‘breach’

PPCRV also allayed fears that the 2022 elections have been compromised, following reports of a “security breach” involving the infrastructure of Smartmatic, the Philippines’ automated poll software provider.

Senator Imee Marcos and Senate President Vicente Sotto III made the claim following a joint congressional oversight committee executive session on March 17, but they did not provide supporting proof. Smartmatic has vehemently denied the allegation, while the Comelec has ordered a review of its contract with the technology firm.

PPCRV readies election monitoring operations to fight ‘dagdag-bawas’

“The information leaked so far are not used in the current elections. For example, things such as PINs and the likes,” PPCRV chief technology officer William Yu said.

“[But] we also encourage the Comelec to beef up its own security. It doesn’t hurt to do some checks, and establish an incident reporting mechanism,” he added.

Smartmatic’s credibility took a hit following reports of alleged poll irregularities in past Philippine elections. These included a delayed transmission of election results to the transparency server, now infamously known as the seven-hour glitch, in 2019.

However, despite criticisms against Smartmatic, random manual audits of the 2016 and 2019 elections – where independent auditors manually tallied votes and compared the results with machine tallies – yielded an accuracy rate of over 99%. – Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

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