MANILA — The 55.4 million registered voters, or a percentage of it, will troop to their polling precincts today to vote for their bets. So, today, May 9, 2016 let the local and national elections voting begin.
This, as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it is 100-percent ready to conduct the third automated national elections in the country.
Earlier, poll body spokesperson James Jimenez said the Comelec is very much prepared to hold a more transparent polls.
The Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) and Election Officers will be operating the voter counting machines (VCMs) in the polling centers. Canvassing and consolidation of votes will be conducted by the Board of Canvassers in each municipality, city, district and province. For senators and party-lists, the poll body will act as the National Board of Canvassers.
“Mas handa ang Comelec ngayon kesa sa ibang halalan ang sabi nga ng chairman (Juan Andres Bautista) namin ang kanyang pangako na ito ang magiging pinakatransparent na halalan sa kasaysayan ng Comelec and very importantly we feel that on Election Day we wil be 100 percent ready to conduct the elections,” he said in an interview at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), which is the venue of the Comelec headquarters for the 2016 polls.
“So far no hitches,” Jimenez added. He noted of the Final Testing and Sealing (FTS) of the 92,509 units of VCMs to be used in the forthcoming polls.
“FTS have been clean across the board. There have been some issues regarding late arrivals etc…. So wala tayo major discrepancies,” he said.
With this, the official said they expect voters turnout of 75-80 percent of the total registered voters.
“We are looking at 75 to 80 percent voters participation during Monday’s polls,” he added.
Jimenez issued last minute reminders to all voters including the preparation of a handy list of the candidates they will be supporting to make their voting process faster and convenient, do not over vote or it will not be counted and make sure to fill up the ballot properly using the physical paper only using the official marker provided.
Five candidates are eyeing the presidency which include Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Senator Grace Poe, Vice President Jejomar Binay, and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas II.
There are six candidates for vice president while 50 candidates are running for 12 posts in the Senate, 115 candidates for 59 partylist seats.
For the House of Representives there are a total of 634 candidates vying for 238 seats; 275 candidates for 81 gubernatorial posts and 206 candidates for 81 vice gubernatorial posts.
There are a total of 1,813 candidates for 776 seats in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan; 4,159 candidates for 1,634 mayoral seats; 3,795 candidates for 1,634 vice mayoral seats; 33,737 candidates for 13,540 seats for Sangguniang Panglungsod/Pambayan; 4 candidates for the governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; 4 candidates for vice governor of ARMM; 68 candidates are fighting for 24 seats for the ARMM Regional Assembly.
A few days before the elections, Bautista said that “credible elections should not only be honest, but also perceived to be honest by the majority of the citizenry.”
Over 92,000 Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) and election paraphernalia have been delivered by technology provider Smartmatic before May 9. Hardware Acceptance Tests, Pre-election Logical Accuracy Tests, local and independent source code reviews were completed.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives and the Senate will act as the National Board of Canvassers to consolidate the country-wide votes and proclaim the winners for president and vice-president.
To ensure that technical incidents are addressed immediately during Election Day, Smartmatic will provide support through its National Technical Support Center (NTSC)—a call center set up to guide and assist BEIs in handling and solving technical incidents with the VCMs and the CCS. (with PNA report by Ferdinand Patinio)