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PIA Press Release

PGMA hails successful conduct of ARMM elections, poll automation

Manila (14 August) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo expressed elation over the peaceful and orderly conduct of this year's elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) which also marked the successful pilot-testing of poll automation.

The President was particularly pleased with information from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that the political exercise registered a high 80-percent voter turnout, and was relatively free of violence and complaints. This is in total contrast to previous elections in the area that were marred with violence, complaints, controversies, and alleged disenfranchisement of voters.

In view of automation's facility to determine the winners, the Comelec was optimistic that it could proclaim all winners yesterday.

The President congratulated the Comelec, headed by Chairman Jose Melo, for the successful exercise; the police and military authorities in the area for their support to the Comelec which made violence almost non-existent; and most importantly the residents of ARMM who, by their active participation, showed that democracy reigns supreme.

The President said: "The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), headed by Chairman Tita de Villa, and other NGOs concerned, were present and monitored the process in the area. They can attest to the positive results of the exercise. Indeed, the credibility of these elections is beyond suspicion, and the will of the residents of the ARMM has been respected."

Recall that "automation of election" is third in the President's 10-point legacy agenda on socio-economic and political reforms, also known as the Beat-the-Odds program.

Having proved its worth in the ARMM, poll automation will now be replicated on a wider scale with a view to assuring our people that come 2010, the conduct of national elections will be immensely improved. By then, the minor technical glitches experienced in this year's ARMM elections, normally expected in pilot exercises, will have been fully addressed.

"We have now seen the future of the Philippine electoral process, and it works! - bereft of any taint of suspicion and disarray, and truly free, peaceful, orderly, and clean," the President said. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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