OPINION: The automation


By Cha Monforte

jan 22

By now each town, city and province has already few clustered precincts to serve high number of voters in view of the automation (computerization) of the coming May elections. There’s unprecedented drop really in the number of precincts with the use of computer technology. For one, Davao del Norte has the lowest drop of 433 percent when the 3,304 total established precincts in the province shrunk to become 620 clustered precincts.

The huge drop of the precincts would only mean that through the use of computers voting would be fast serving greater number of voters. Like when one bet the lotto where boxes corresponding to the numbers are just shaded by pen or pencil, under the automated elections from a Comelec’s initial demonstration over NBN, voters would have to pencil shade boxes provided for corresponding to the name of the candidates. With the elimination of the manual writing, and with the mere pencil-shading, voting of each voter can be really fast.

If Davao del Norte’s drop of precincts can be a far gauge, that 433-percent decrease, an implication can be made that about three-fourth of time has been eliminated by the automation from what was used to be in the previous manual polls. The question that arises now is whether really the automation can effect a smooth and fast voting. For one, there’s this complete newness on the scheme and voters would have still to acquaint themselves to it. What if the new system instead generates noise and confusion?

This calls to mind the demand of some sectors for voters’ education and even their hands-on appreciation to the new automation system. I’m venturing a scenario that since this would be the first time that we would have to deal with an automated system, lag time would occur at the level of individual voter in adjusting with a new system, with each contributing a minuter or more of delay, and thus resulting to emergence of bottlenecks and snags in the new system. This can be seen in the first voting hours when possible queues of voters appear and spoil the system and threaten the objective of coming a fast, smooth, orderly and peaceful elections.

Given this scenario, there’s really this need for the voters to be educated and be acquainted on the new automation system of electing our leaders and representatives. As we’re closing in to the Comelec-scheduled campaign period, there’s still time for the Comelec to launch massive information dissemination campaigns to educate the people on the new system. At least, campaigns can be launched in the media, while political parties, civil society, cause-oriented groups and even the Church with its pastoral outreach programs can give their respective share in educating the people on automated elections.

BLOGS AND BITS: Ex-Compostela Valley Governor Joecab Caballero is reportedly tapping all his ex-CAOs (Community Affairs Officers) when he was still the governor to campaign for his congressional candidacy versus District 2 Cong. Rommel Amatong. A source said that Joecab has 80 ex-CAOs, of whom 58 CAOs were from District 2 and 22 CAOs were from District 1…. CAOs or whatever their designation in provincial governments are job order (JO) workers tapped for political purpose. Now even when Joecab’s CAOs are already out of the provincial government, they’re still tapped for political purpose….. Buzzwords said that Comval Gov. Chiongkee Uy would still support Lakas-Kampi-CMD municipal candidates despite that he’s unopposed. “It’s test of leadership,” he was quoted as saying. But his “financial support” this time is no longer 100-percent. For sure it’s just a percentage…. Ex-Davao del Norte Vice Gov. Anthony Rafael del Rosario chose to play coy when he was asked to apprise his long-absentee congressional opponent Emily Alvarez. He chose not to comment. Watta a civil act (e-mail: chamonforte@yahoo.com)


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