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Comelec to tap 80,000 IT people for 2010 elections :: 2009-07-10 23:57:37 UTC :: posted by iette

MANILA, Philippines — With the obstacles to poll automation for the 2010 elections almost all cleared, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now looking for information technology (IT) people to handle the voting machines.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento on Thursday said at least 80,000 IT personnel are needed to assist board of elections inspectors (BEIs) in the forthcoming polls.

RELATED LINKS» Smartmatic Backgrounder» Report/ Recommendation on the 2010 Automation Elections Project Procurement» Comelec to trim down polling precincts by 70%Anticipating the possibility that not enough public school teachers would be able to fill the required staff, the Comelec plans to tap IT personnel from various government agencies.

Should that still not be enough, the Comelec might tap the private sector, Sarmiento said.

He explained that the Comelec is allowed to tap IT-capable persons to be present in each precinct during Election Day.

Only those accredited by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) would be tapped, he added. Sarmiento said the mechanics of tapping IT people will be up for discussion at the Comelec very soon.

With the signing of a contract designating Smartmatic and Total Information Management (TIM) as the automation partner of the Comelec for the May 2010 elections, the poll body said it will go ahead with the clustering of the 250,000 precincts used in the 2007 polls to reduce these down to only 80,000 precincts.

Under the P7.2 million contract, Smartmatic and TIM will supply the 82,500 voting machines for the 2010 elections, with 2,500 machines serving as backup. One precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine is to cover about 1,000 voters.

Aside from the reduced number of precincts, the number of personnel manning the precincts will also be significantly reduced.

In the 2007 elections, the Comelec had to tap private school teachers to serve as members of the BEIs due to lack of public school teachers.

Records of the Department of Education (DepEd) showed that it had only 500,000 teachers during that most recent election, short of the 750,000 teachers required to serve as election inspectors. While Smartmatic Corp and TIM have promised to send their own computer technicians to manage the voting machines, the Comelec said such technicians won’t be allowed inside polling precincts.

Sarmiento said the law is specifically states that only BEI members and the IT-capable person are allowed inside polling precincts. - GMANews.TV

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