First automated polls generally peaceful in Kalinga
Tabuk, Kalinga (15 May) -- The May 10 first automated national and local elections in the province was successful and generally peaceful, except for some technical failure in the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.
Assigned Provincial Election Supervisor Nicasio Jacob said there was no report of violence or any irregularity sent to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) provincial office, this time, compared to the previous elections.
As Chairman of the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC), Jacob said there were no heated exchanges, violent reactions and hard debates by counsels of candidates during the canvass.
The common problem experienced in some areas of the province that was also true to the rest of the country was technical failure of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.
On election day, widespread reports about automated machines malfunction and compact flash (CF) card defects flow-in from all eight municipalities.Casting of votes in other parts of the province was disrupted because of PCOS machines hanging, but this did not prevent voters from casting their votes.
Smartmatic, the automation service provider of COMELEC in the last elections, was ready with its contingency measure of allowing the casting of votes while attending to the defects of the PCOS machines.
Although the system of automation is not perfect, it was significantly effective, compared to the previous manual system, Jacob stressed.
Kalinga Philippine National Police (PNP) Provincial Director Virgilio Laya, said
that the implementation of the total gun ban has contributed significantly in sustaining the peaceful and orderly election process in the province.
He said that the only reported election related incident happened in Rizal where a confrontation between two local candidates resulted to a heated argument compelling the police to intervene. Several minor incidents he said were also reported but the police could not yet confirm if these are election related.
Meanwhile, officials and the public have expressed appreciation for the automated polls.
Tanudan OIC Comelec Officer Cesar Bulakit said that with use of PCOS machines, the usual tension during the manual counting and tallying of votes was eliminated.
He said that the automation has likewise prevented the usual delays during elections such as the intervention of lawyers filing for election process due to election violations cropping up during the manual election process.
In Balbalan, OIC Comelec Officer Clifford Osillos said that the automation has made the process faster and easier especially on the part of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI's) and the Comelec who used to bear the tedious work during the manual counting and tallying.
He said that aside from minor glitches such as PCOS machine malfunction and problems in transmitting the results from the polling centers for consolidation in the municipal level, the process had been orderly and peaceful.
Many people also appreciated the automated elections for the fast results. They do not have to wait for weeks for the winners to be proclaimed. Winners were already proclaimed last May 12 in Kalinga, just two days after the election.
The newly proclaimed officials include reelected Congressman Manuel Agyao, incumbent Vice Governor Jocel Baac as the Governor and Balbalan mayor Jessie Allen Mangaoang as the Vice Governor. (PIA Kalinga) [top]