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PIA Press Release

Cut precinct size by half, says Dagupan election officer

By Danny O. Sagun

Dagupan City (20 May) -- The ideal number of voters in an election precinct should be at least 500, the city election officer here raised Tuesday.

Lawyer Remarque Ravanzo said he would recommend reducing the size of precinct by at least half, from 1,000 voters to 500, to make future elections easier to manage. Particularly observed in the last May 10 elections were the long lines of people under the heat of the sun waiting for their turn to cast their votes as a result of the clustering of precincts.

"Sa dami ng tao na naghahanap ng kanilang pangalan at presinto at interesado sa kaunaunahang automated elections, talagang magakakaroon ng pagkumpol-kumpol at mahahabang pila," Ravanzo told the Pangtongtongan Tayo radio program of the Philippine Information Agency over Radyo ng Bayan-DZMQ last Tuesday.

A clustered precinct has at least 1,000 voters.

He said that people were also to blame for the problems that arose. "Ilang beses silang sinabihan thru the media at kanilang mga barangay officials na tingnang maaga ang kanilang mga pangalan at presinto pero marami pa ring botante na sa araw ng eleksyon na hinahanap yong pangalan nila, it?s very disappointing," he said, adding that many disregarded the supposed express lanes for the elderly, persons with disabilities and those on duty that time like members of the media, the police and other law enforcement agencies. "Gusto ng iba mauna agad at ayaw pagbigyan yong mga senior citizens," he observed.

The election officer also said that if not of the 20 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that bogged down due to defective compact flash cards, results in the city would have been known that night of Monday or early morning of Tuesday. "Di mahagilap din yong mga Smartmatic people, kung umasa lang kami sa kanila baka lalong natagalan yong bilangan sa Dagupan," he said, noting similar in incidents in nearby towns where counting was delayed and took at least three to four days because the board of election inspectors relied too much on the technicians.

"Mabilis nga yong bilangan pero nagkaproblema don sa flash cards," he said.

Ravanzo said he wished that future elections would be truly automated, from voting to counting to canvassing and transmission of results. The recent elections were indeed automated but only for the counting and transmission of votes.

Asked if the same equipment would be used in the coming barangay elections, he said he had no idea if the government would adopt automation. The PCOS machines were only rented from TM-Smartmatic but with an option to buy.

On the honoraria for those who served in the polls, he said that payrolls were already being prepared. Members of the BEI will get P4,300 while the support staff are entitled to P1,500.

One other recommendation is to hold elections during the cold months like December to spare the people from the summer heat. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]

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