Power interruption possible – Comelec
CEBU, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec)-Cebu City could not discount the possibility of a power interruption during Election Day.
South District Election Officer Marchel Sarno said power providers such as Visayan Electric Company (VECO) and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) have assured the poll body that they are well-prepared.
Other than that, there are numerous batteries reserved for any power-related problems.
“Wala ta nag-discount sa possibility sa power interruption but ni-promise ang VECO and NGCP that they are 101 percent prepared sa atoang power,” Sarno told reporters yesterday.
Sarno admitted that they do not have generator sets, since these facilities are intended for “island” areas.
Despite this, he is confident that they can deliver and are now 100 percent prepared in holding a successful election.
“But so far from 2010 up to present, wala ta’y problema sa atoang signal but in case naa’y problema sa signal, naa ta’y contingency nga pagabuhaton like for example, dad-on nato ang VCM sa lugar nga naa’y signal,” he added.
Comelec has also at least 70 extra Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) to replace the unserviceable machines.
Yesterday, the poll body had testing and sealing of the VCMs in barangay Guadalupe.
During the testing and sealing of the VCMs, Comelec checked whether or not the machines are capable of functioning well.
“Atong ipakita diri how accurate ang atoang machine, moihap og balota, atong i-compare ang atoang electronically count nga result sa pag-testing nato ug i-manually count ang balota mismo,” Sarno said.
Guadalupe has the most number of registered voters in the south district of the city.
Sarno also said that they will establish voter’s assistance area to accommodate common problems.
“Siguro ang common problem ana, wala ang ilahang pangalan sa registered voters. How to address that naa’y voter’s assistance desk,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) is set to activate its emergency operation center to oversee and facilitate emergency and medical response for May 13 elections.
The provincial-level council, which will be one of the 24-7 command centers here in Cebu, will be operational starting Saturday (May 11) noon until Tuesday noon forming its headquarters at Central Command in uptown Cebu City.
Rhee Telen, Jr. from PDRRMO told reporters Friday that the manpower for the provincial incident management team is expected to convene 60 personnel from the different offices and non-government organizations.
The council will comprise of the PDRRMO; the Provincial Health Office; Capitol frontline offices; volunteers; from the army and the navy forces; and the Bureau of Fire Protection, among others.
Telen said the council will be willing to provide response actions in case of emergency, and to ensure security and safety of voters and the electoral procedures.
The regional-level command center, spearheaded by the Office of Civil Defense, will also have their separate convergence at One Central Hotel in downtown Cebu City.
Telen said like usual protocols, the provincial level commonly comes at the third “wave” of response.
He explained that the barangay responders usually are the main frontliners while the city and municipality intervenes when it is already non-manageable at the barangay level.
Heat stroke cases at the voting center, for instance, may be taken care of by the local emergency responders, he said.
This medical concern may be common especially when there is dry weather during Election Day.
The province-level unit will already take action when a certain situation covers a bigger scope and needs heavier response.
Telen said the team will be handling emergency and medical response not only on natural hazards but also human-induced threats like terrorism and political-motivated violence – which for him are the “challenging” areas they are looking into.
He said the security units have already marked the critical areas during the election that had already been identified by the police. — GAN (FREEMAN)