With less than a week before the elections, the regional office of the Commission on Election (Comelec) yesterday said they are ready for the May 13 activity.
Atty. Michael Abas, Comelec regional director, said the official ballots and voting machines are already here.
Abas said the 3,752 voting machines needed for Davao region arrived here two weeks ago. The official ballots also came last week.
He said they will conduct the final testing and sealing on May 9 of all polling places to ensure the validity of the vote counting machines (VCM). In the region, he said there are around 3,800 polling precincts.
Davao region has 2.8 million registered voters and around 11,000 members of electoral boards.
Abas is confident that the region has a “clean list of voters” and that he doesn’t expect any flying voters.
Another innovation in electoral system, he said, is the Voters Registration Verification System, which will deter flying voter “if there is.”
In the system, voters will have a finger print verification “before they will be given their respective ballots.”
Abas is hoping that they can proclaim the winning candidates by Wednesday, May 15.
The regional director encourages all the voters to come as early as possible. The polling enter will open at 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.
“To all our voters, we should be watchful and vote properly,” Abas said.
He also reminded the public to observe elections rules, particularly the prohibitions such as drinking of intoxicating drinks and cockfighting, on May 13.
Abas also reminded candidates that the campaign period is until Saturday only.
“For the candidates, let us observe well our election laws,” Abas said, stressing that vote buying is strictly prohibited.
So far, Abas said they have not recorded any election-related incidents in the region.
“We are very fortunate that we have the PNP (Philippine National Police) under Brig. Gen. Marcelo Morales and the 10th Infantry Division under Maj. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr., who are always providing security,” Abas said.
The Comelec regional director said the budget for the honorarium of election officers is already prepared.
Meanwhile, the regional Department of Education (DepEd) will deploy around 7,552 teachers in the region as members of the electoral board.
Jenielito Atillo, DepEd regional spokesperson, said biggest bulk of the deployment will be in Davao City.
The DepEd spokesman said the teachers will also receive P6,000 honorary payment, including P1,000 transportation allowance.
“Our teachers will no longer withdraw in ATM machines,” Atillo said. “It will be given in cash.”
He said the funds will likely be released within three days after the election.
In case of minor troubles in the machines, Atillo said the teachers are already informed on what to do.
Atillo said teachers assigned in far-flung barangays, they will have to sleep a day or two prior to the elections day.
“Because we are very serious in our responsibility in safeguarding the ballots,” he added.
However, he said the police and military have assured to guard the teachers.