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PIA Press Release
2010/05/05

Comelec-7 says May 10 elections to push thru

Cebu City (5 May) -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec-7) here firmly stressed the synchronized local and national elections will push through on Monday, May 10, amid fears of a 'no elections scenario' due to the recall of the defective compact flash cards and the suspension on the deployment of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

Lapu-Lapu City Election Supervisor Atty. Ferdinand Gujilde admitted that there are a lot of kinks in the poll automation but that they are prepared and ready to implement the manual polling process and revert back to manual counting if ordered.

Gujilde however, remained optimistic the defective compact flashcards that have been recalled can be fixed in time for use in Monday's poll automation.

The flashcards encountered some problems during the testing in certain areas in Luzon particularly in the counting for local positions. It has been said a wrong configuration of the compact flash cards caused the failure of the PCOs machines to read votes for local candidates, this was reported.

Gujilde explained that a compact flash card is similar to a memory card of a cell phone which stores all data including the results of the elections.

But in case the defective flash cards can't be used in time for the elections, Gujilde said their last resort is manual process.

"As much as possible, we want the poll automation to work but under the law, we can adopt the manual poll process in case of failure to implement the poll automation," Gujilde said.

Gujilde said the worst scenario may be for partial automation in selected key cities while other areas might be done manually.

"But like it or not, the May 10 Elections will push through as mandated under our Constitution," Gujilde emphasized.

Fr. Carmelo Diola, overall coordinating steward of the Dila-ab Movement, said the latest development is a cause to be worrisome as "sometime two weeks ago, no less than Comelec Chairman Jose Melo stated that "We (Comelec) are ready" and now five days to the actual elections, a suspension on the deployment of PCOS machines and recall of the compact flash cards have been ordered by the Comelec."

Diola urged the Comelec to "swallow its pride" and admit that total poll automation is not possible given the present problems encountered with the poll machines.

The Dila-ab Movement coordinating steward said it is better for partial automation and manual process in other areas which is very realistic given the timeline.

"If I am not mistaken, 76,000 PCOS machines have been recalled and also the flashcards while there are only 64 full-time technicians of Smartmatic. How can this be fixed on time with five days away from the actual elections?," Diola questioned.

But despite the latest developments, Diola said he still has trust in the Comelec but that "it is not a religious faith."

Atty. Gigi Horda of the Cebu-Citizens' Involvement for Maturation of People Empowerment and Liberation (C-Cimpel), a Church-based election watchdog, said it still has trust with the Comelec. (PIA-Cebu/FCR)

BFAR designates May as Fisherfolk Month

Cebu City (5 May) -- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-7) in Central Visayas designates May as the Fisherfolk Month to recognize the important roles of the fisherfolks in our lives.

According to BFAR-7 regional director Andres Bojos, "we recognize the vital role of the fisherfolks in providing food to people and generating livelihood to those who are and have been involved either in fish capture, fish farming and fish processing."

Bojos added, one of the programs in celebration of Fisherfolk Month is the installation of Regional and Provincial Fisherfolk Directors in every region to run its national and regional offices.

"They shall act as national fisherfolk director and regional fisheries directors in order for them to have an opportunity to understand the workings of the bureaucracy," the BFAR director continued.

This is the fifth (5) year of implementation of this program, in coordination with the NGO's and Local Government Units.

Through this program, many of the fisherfolks' lives have been uplifted because they have been provided with the necessary needs to enhance their ability in fishing through, he added.

This year's BFAR-7 Regional Fisherfolk Director is Wilfredo Reyes, a fisherfolk from San Juan Siquijor and his first activity after his installation as 2010 regional fisherfolk director is to visit fishery projects in Bayawan, Bais, Bindoy and Ayungon, all in Negros Oriental.

This year's fisherfolk month theme is "Magsasaka at Mangingisda, Sama-samang harapin ang Hamon ng 'Climate Change' Gamit ang Makabagong Teknolohiya." (PIA-7/HFG) [top]

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