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PIA Press Release

Gov't behind Comelec in efforts to make poll automation a success

Manila (5 May) -- The government is throwing all its support to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in its efforts to make the country's first automated elections a success.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ricardo Saludo said the unwavering concerted support of the government and the people for the Comelec is crucial.

"The Comelec can count on all the instrumentalities of government to safeguard our democratic processes," Saludo said in the wake of reports about certain technical problems being encountered during the testing of vote-counting machines or the so-called precinct count optical scans (PCOS)

"Problems are normal in any new system, and tests are done to discover and solve them," he added.

In related development, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has directed Secretary Ray Anthony Chua of the Commission on Information and Communication Technology [CICT], to assist the Comelec on the technical hitches being encountered in the PCOS test runs.

"This may not just be a problem of people but also of machines," Press Undersecretary for Operations and Deputy Presidential Spokesman Rogelio Peyuan pointed out during the regular press briefing in Malacanang.

Peyuan said the President had asked Chua to provide technical support to the Comelec and help provide alternative solutions, if any, to the problems with the PCOS machines.

He said Chua has been in constant dialogue with the technical experts of Comelec and SmartMatic. "We expect that after careful discussions with them, some suggestions and possible announcements will be made by Secretary Chua," he added.

Being one of those in the panel that reviewed the entire technical aspects of the poll automation project, Chua is in a better position to update the President on the actual situation, said Peyuan.

Peyuan pointed out that the President is concerned with the success of poll automation "as it involves the entire integrity of the exercise."

With only five days left, the Palace remains confident the Comelec will be able to resolve the technical problems of poll automation, according to Peyuan. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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