6 of 89 PCOS machines in Maasin City found defective; installation of spare units ongoing
By Bong Pedalino
Maasin City (May 9) -- It was very close to being perfect.
Teachers serving as Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs), along with their counterpart Smartmatic technicians, and under vigilant eyes of the various political and citizen's arm watchers, buckled down to work the whole day yesterday, May 8, testing and sealing Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines right at their assigned polling places using fresh compact flash cards.
The result: Out of this city's 89 PCOS for 89 clustered precincts, six were found out defective, said City Commission on Elections (Comelec) Officer Lawrence Gelsano.
In a phone interview with PIA this morning, Gelsano said spare PCOS had been dispatched and the process of sealing and testing of the spare units has been ongoing as we talked to precincts in barangays Abgao, Maria Clara, Hanginan, Pansaan, Manhilo, and Malapoc Sur.
Gelsano said he expects a report by noon today, May 9, on the performance of these spare PCOS units, with high hopes they are working quite well.
At precinct number 3 for barangay Abgao in Maasin Central School, school teacher Vic Pia told PIA yesterday the PCOS did not function other than showing the logo the whole morning, prompting them to stop the activity, call the technician, who also could not do anything, and eventually wait for a spare PCOS.
Elsewhere, however, cheers and loud clapping greeted every step of the successful operation, from installing the PCOS, to inserting the sample ballots up to accurate matching of the manual and machine tally.
At the Rosa Espina Yniguez Memorial School, the polling place for large barangays Tagnipa and Combado, teachers voiced their concern because there was only one technician serving seven clustered precincts -- four for Combado, three for Tagnipa.
But such worries gradually eased out as every precinct was successfully sealed and tested one by one before the day's end.
In Precinct Cluster 14, barangay Tagnipa, only one out of ten sample ballots was successfully inserted at first, but after some attempts at ?ironing? the crumpled portions of the ballots, nine were accepted by the PCOS and only one was rejected.
It was a different situation in the next precinct, since all the attempts were made to put marks and deliberate folding of the ballots, yet all were accepted after initial rejection of two samples.
At the provincial Comelec, there were no major reports of troubles on the sealing and testing of PCOS from the eighteen towns as of yesterday afternoon. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]