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Comelec campaigns to remove doubts on automated elections

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

PASAY CITY, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) wants to employ concrete security features that will further protect the automation system of the 2019 midterm elections.

This is the priority of the agency cited by Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo during the Senate hearing at his confirmation by the Commission on Appointment (CA) on Wednesday (August 15).

Casquejo said they want to remove doubts on poll automation process cast by allegations of irregularities in the 2016 election that recently surfaced.

One of the measures that the poll body plans to impose would be the use of the board of election inspector’s digital signature to limit the number of persons transmitting the votes.

“That is to make sure the one transmitting from precinct level going to canvassing level would be the BEI itself who transmits the result because of the presence of the digital signature,” Casquejo said.

Comelec also plans to require additional details from voters which will appear in the voter’s receipt. Likewise, the agency will put QR codes in each official ballot to immediately identify its origin.

A public viewing of the source code review is also being considered. The source code serves as the blueprint of the vote counting machines and by opening the process to the public, defects and problems in functionalities of the machines will be easily identified.

The Comelec said that even without the controversial exposé of election fraud accuser Atty. Glenn Chong, the said measures are essential in an automated election.

“Nag-i-improve ang teknolohiya so every elections iyan, independently of the allegations of Mr Chong,” explained Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez.

Jimenez said the poll body is now scrutinizing the documents presented by Chong allegedly proving irregularities in the 2016 election.

“Kailangan ibangga yung dokumento niya duon sa alam natin na authentic na dokumento,” he concluded. – Nel Maribojoc / Marje Pelayo

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OAV in several countries encounters minor setbacks

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2019

The Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) on Saturday (April 13) drew minor setbacks in several countries.

In Hong Kong

Two voting machines encountered technical problems during the first day of the OAV. The machines were rejecting the ballots.

According to Consul General Antonio Morales aside from the machines, they also encountered problems with incomplete shading, over-voting, and problems with some ballots’ barcode.

In Russia

The Facebook page of the Philippine Embassy in Russia was filled with complaints due to the insufficient number of ballots for the total voters.

Only 2,169 ballots arrived in Russia where the number of registered voters is at 3,529.

UNTV is still waiting for the response of the Philippine Embassy in Russia on the said issue.I

Meanwhile, in other countries like Taiwan, Malaysia, and East Timor, there was only a small voter turnout during the first day of the OAV.

Manila Economic Cultural Office (MECO) Deputy Resident Representative Atty. Carlo Aquino urges voters in Taiwan not to wait for the last day in order to vote.

“Magkakasabay-sabay po kayo. Hanggang Mayo 13 bukas po ang MECO para tanggapin ang inyong boto. Gamitin po natin ang ating karapatan na mamili kung sino ang mamumuno sa atin, (There might be an influx of voters. MECO is open for you to vote until May 13. Let us use our right to choose on who should lead us)” he said.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Grace Casin)

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Duterte vetoes survivorship benefits bill

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has vetoed the bill that seeks for survivorship benefits to the children of deceased officials of the Commission on Audit, Commission on Elections, the Civil Service Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman who were solo parents.

The enrolled Senate Bill 1917/House Bill 7820 sought to amend the Republic Act 10084 and extend the survivorship benefits to the dependent children of a deceased retired government official who was a solo parent.

RA 10084 only provides benefits to the surviving legitimate spouses of the deceased retired officials of the said constitutional offices.

In his letter to the Senate and the House dated April 12, 2019, the President cited several factors for vetoing the said bill.

The President said that while he supports the importance of passing the enrolled bill that authorizes additional benefits to the dependents of the COA, CSC, COMELEC and the Ombudsman, he is apprehensive that such granting of benefits “beyond the current compensation framework for other government offices may prove to be too onerous to the government.”

He further said that this would erode the national government’s salary standardization and rationalization program.

The President added that “it will create too much disparity and inequality in compensation among public servants”, as the benefits specified in the enrolled bill are extraordinary and are not granted to all officials in the government service.

The enrolled bill was transmitted to the Office of the President on March 14. – Maris Federez

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Overseas absentee voting kicks off April 13

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Saturday, April 13th, 2019

An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Dubai participates in 2013 Philippine elections through overseas absentee voting (OAV). (Lonix Foto Grafix | PVI)

MANILA, Philippines – The month-long overseas absentee voting (OAV) has begun today, April 13.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) said there are a total of 1,822,173 overseas voters for this election. Majority of this voters are land-based workers totaling 1,779,140 while 43,033 are sea-based workers.

In photos taken by UNTV News and Rescue team in Singapore (correspondent Queenie Ballon), some of the registered Filipino voters there have lined up early at the Philippine Embassy to cast their votes.

Overseas Filipino worker Bobby Catolos, who has been working in Singapore for 20 years now, said he makes it a point to consistently exercise his right to suffrage since 2007.

In Hongkong, the UNTV News and Rescue team (correspondent Ferdie Petalio) reported that Filipinos there also went to cast their votes early despite the inclement weather.

Comelec-OFOV said most of the registered voters are in the Middle East and African region followed by the Asia Pacific, North and Latin America and European region.

However, there will be no OAV in three areas—Damascus in Syria, Tripoli in Libya and Baghdad in Iraq—due to the ongoing tensions there.

READ: DFA raises alert level 3 in Libya

Comelec said that of the 83 countries or Philippine posts, 41 will use vote counting machines (VCM), while Filipinos abroad within the jurisdictions of the remaining 42 areas will use the manual system of voting, either personal or through postal.

The 41 posts that will use VCMs include Agana, Brunei, Calgary, Chicago, Canberra, Honolulu, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles, Macau, New York, Ottawa, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taipei, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Wellington, Athens, London, Madrid, Rome, Milan, Beirut, Abu Dhabu, Kuwait, Manama, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Muscat, AL-Khobar, Riyadh and Tel Aviv.

The 42 countries that will use postal voting are Buenos Aires, Brasilia, Bangkok, Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzho, Hanoi, Islamad, Mexico, Santiago, Port Moresby, Yangon, Ankara, Berne, Budapes, Berline, Brussels, Budapest, Lusbon, Moscow, Geneva, Oslo, Paris, The Hague, Vienna, Warsaw, Prague, Cairo, Pretoria and Abuja.

Personal voting will be used in Jakarta, Dhaka, Dili, Manado, New Delhi, Phnom Penh, Vientiane, Xiamen, Shanghai, Vatican, Amman, Tehran and Nairobi.

Comelec-OFOV hopes for higher voter turnout this election than the 16 percent recorded in 2007 and 2013 polls.

The overseas absentee voting will last until May 13. – Robie de Guzman

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