Comelec prepares contingency plan in case of earthquake during elections

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 7, 2019   •   1421

FILE: PNP National Headquarters participated in the 1st Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) on April 21, 2016. Response and Rescue operations were also done during the activity. (Photo: PNP FB Page)

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has laid out a contingency plan in case of an earthquake or any emergency during the election day on May 13.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is tasked to make sure that no voters will be left inside the polling precinct in case of an earthquake; while the Board of Election Inspectors are tasked to secure the Vote Counting Machines (VCM) and ballots inside it.

“Ultimately the most important consideration here is the safety of the voting public. And we want to make sure that if there are voting precincts operating in those areas, that they should be safe and that they have not been damaged either by the primary quake or the aftershocks,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said.

He added, “If the VCMs cannot be taken out or the VCMs cannot be protected, then the school is locked down.”

The police is also under the instruction to secure the polling place.

READ: Earthquake and other calamities might cause failure of elections—Comelec

For emergency cases like earthquakes and other calamities, Comelec will have to declare a failure of elections. However, this will depend on the severity of its effect in the country.

Meanwhile, Comelec has warned the public not to easily believe posts online such as the viral video that showed pre-shaded ballots.

Jimenez clarified that these ballots are fake, and he refuted the claim of the video uploader that the VCM will read votes detected by UV light.

“Iyong idea na mababasa ng makina iyong UV mark doon sa bilog sa tabi ng pangalan is wrong. Iyong ating scanner ay nagbabasa ng visible marks. Kailangan niyang makita iyong marka. Ang UV mark ay invisible. The fact that some names were supposedly had pre- shaded, pre- shading. Obviously political agenda ang nasa ilalim nito, (The idea that the machine will read UV marks in the circle is wrong. Our scanner reads visible marks. It needs to see the mark. UV marks are invisible. Obviously there is a political agenda under it),” he said.(with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Comelec suspends voter registration until March 31 due to COVID-19 threat

Robie de Guzman   •   March 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has suspended the voter registration until March 31 amid the rising number of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in the country.

In a statement, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez announced that the suspension will begin on Tuesday, March 10.

“As a response to the growing threat to public health posed by COVID-19, voter registration has been suspended by the Comelec until the 31st of March 2020,” he said.

Jimenez said the suspension takes effect nationwide, encompassing voter registration conducted in all Comelec offices in districts, cities, and municipalities, as well as all satellite registration activities.

“The public is advised to take all necessary precautionary measures to limit their exposure to the possibility of COVID-19 infection,” he added.

The poll body opened the voter registration for the 2022 national elections last January. It was initially set to run until September 30, 2021.

As of posting time, the Philippines has 33 confirmed coronavirus cases.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier declared a public health emergency amid the rising cases of COVID-19 infections in the country.

The DOH also raised Code Red Sublevel 1 after confirming the country’s first case of coronavirus local transmission.

9 dead in Turkey after earthquake hits Iran border area

UNTV News   •   February 24, 2020

BASKALE, TURKEY (FEBRUARY 23, 2020)DAMAGED HOMES

Nine people died and hundreds of buildings collapsed in southeastern Turkey on Sunday (February 23) after a magnitude-5.7 earthquake struck near the border with Iran, injuring dozens in villages and towns in both countries, government officials said.

Three of those killed were children and 37 Turks were injured, including nine critically, Turkey’s health ministry said.

The shallow tremor caused more than 1,000 buildings to collapse in Turkey, prompting a brief rescue effort to find those trapped under rubble.

The quake damaged buildings some 90 km (56 miles) to the west in the Turkish city of Van, and to the east in dozens of villages in Iran, where state TV said 75 people were injured including six in hospital, though there were no fatalities.

Crisscrossed by major fault lines, Iran and Turkey are among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.—Yesim Dikmen via Reuters Connect

Magnitude 5.4 quake rattles Davao Occidental

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A magnitude 5.4 earthquake rattled parts of Davao Occidental on Thursday afternoon, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported.

In its bulletin, Phivolcs said the epicenter of the quake that struck around 5:54 p.m. was traced 35 kilometers southeast of Jose Abad Santos in Davao Occidental.

It had a depth of 190 kilometers and tectonic in origin.

The tremor was felt at intensity III in General Santos City, Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato, and Alabel, Saranggani; intensity II in Maasin and Malapatan, Sarangani, and Davao City, while intensity I was felt in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

Phivolcs said there was no reported damage but aftershocks should be expected.

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