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PIA Press Release

PGMA is first voter in hometown Lubao

Lubao, Pampanga (11 May) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday (May 10) led the nation in finally setting in motion the first national automated elections, as she cast her vote at Precinct No. 0001A in Barangay San Nicolas, minutes past 7:00 a.m. when some 70,000 voting centers nationwide simultaneously opened.

The President, who is also running for Pampanga's second congressional district, arrived at the precinct at about 6:55 a.m. after hearing mass at the nearby San Agustin Church.

Accompanied by son Pampanga Rep. Jose Miguel Arroyo, the President was the first voter from among the 160 voters listed in clustered precinct of her home barangay to arrive at the polling place.

Looking simple in a light blue sleeveless blouse and gray pants, the President first checked out her name in the voters' list posted outside the polling center and then entered the place at about 7:07 a.m.

After giving her name to an election officer, she was given the long ballot enclosed in a secrecy folder and then found a seat to accomplish the ballot. She completed the ballot in about five minutes and then proceeded to the counting machine.

A male resident, however, was allowed first to test the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine before the President was allowed to feed the ballot into the sophisticated machine under the guidance of the election inspector.

When the machine read "congratulations" signifying that her vote was validated, the President, with hands in chest, sighed, smiled and said: "Hay salamat (Oh Thanks)."

It took her about five minutes to complete the voting process.

Rep. Arroyo exclaimed "it's simpler than I thought," referring to the what is said to be a sophisticated voting system for which the country spent money to be able to replace the antiquated manual counting that has always put in doubt the credibility of elections in the country.

The President left her hometown at around 8:30 a.m. and returned to Malacanang to monitor election-day developments. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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