COMELEC Office Closed on a Weekday

April 8, 2009

Sharing this post from Ralph of AYLA… kindly pass and also give feedback, reports if similar incidents are happening in your areas this summer. So we can see how to best address such unfortunate incidents. Lets get the youth and young professionals to register this summer. Thanks much. -Tanya

“I was so happy that the top management of our company has been very
supportive of the ongoing campaign of Ayala Young Leaders Alliance
advocating voters’ registration. We, the employees are entitled for
one-day leave just to make sure that we are registered in our local
COMELEC office.”

“The COMELEC website has a feature of checking whether an individual is
registered or not. I found out that I am still registered though I
have no records for my biometrics. After office hours yesterday, I
immediately proceed to the bus station for an eight-hour trip to
Mulanay, Quezon Province where I am registered. Aside from seeing my
parents whom I have not seen for months, I was so excited for the trip
to have my biometrics captured and claim my voters ID which I have
been waiting for, for the past elections.”

“Upon arriving at the local COMELEC office at around 10:00 in the
morning, all my excitement faded upon seeing that the said office is
padlocked. My temper escalated upon seeing the long lines of equally
excited youngsters whom I assume are first time voters. Some were even
wearing their PE t-shirts of some Manila schools. What I was not
surprised is that most of them are like me who intend to maximize
their long vacation and placing their registration among their to-do
list.”

“The COMELEC en banc released a resolution stating that their local
offices should be open during Saturdays and holidays. Today is
Wednesday and apparently not a holiday yet. Since no one was around to
check if the office will still open, I rushed to the office beside
COMELEC to inquire. Only to know the worst – the said office is closed
since yesterday.”

“I believe that all our efforts in the Ayala Young Leaders Alliance and
Youth Vote Philippines should by all means be given equal effort and
commitment from the COMELEC. What is it for those young men and women
behind the advocacy of promoting voters registration only to be given
this inattention from the very institution which should be the prime
mover of citizen participation in the electoral process? What is to be
expected from our campaign of getting as many youth as possible to
register if our target individuals will only encounter padlocked
COMELEC office with no single personnel around especially during the
very rare chances that they can spare time to exercise their duties as
citizens?”

“Do not blame the youth for being so-called apathetic. Apathy is a
result of outright incompetence of most of our public servants. Among
the youth, most of us are doing our share. It’s just that more often
than not, we do not receive the expected effectiveness from those in
the bureaucracy.”

“Given the average turnout of registration, it will not be an
astounding possibility to deprive hundreds of thousands if not
millions of voters. The deadline for the registration is cut short
from December 15 to October 31, 2009 in order to prepare for poll
automation, as reported. Such directive poses the possibility of
significantly decreasing the number of potential first time voters,
unreasonable closing of COMELEC offices aggravates the saddening
scenario.”

“In the 2007 senatorial elections, around 6.4 million potential voters
were not registered. This number has significantly increased for the
2010 presidential elections.”

“We can recall the outcome of the past elections where the winners of
national elective positions have a margin of less than a million.
Assuming without conceding that there were no (massive) cheating,
imagine the difference that the votes of those who were unable to
register could have affected the final tallies. Bottomline – the
impact of the evident disregard of this very office to their mandate
definitely affect the outcome of the elections and the impression of
the public of the worth of exercising their rights and duties as
citizens.”

We appeal for immediate actions from the Commission on Elections. No
more excuses please. We are all tired to hear the seemingly endless
explanations trying to sew the loopholes in the systems the same
commission are implementing. We are doing giving our contributions.
We, the public, deserve no less
.

Ralph Reuben C. Morales
Ayala Young Leader batch 2004
Senior Development Specialist
AYLC Alumni and External Affairs
Youth Leadership Development Unit

Ayala Foundation, Inc.
10/F BPI Main Building, 6768 Ayala Avenue
corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati City

Email ralph.morales@ayalayoungleaders.ph |
Web http://www.ayalayoungleaders.ph

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YouthVotePhilippines Signs MOA with GMA7

March 4, 2009

Hi everyone,

Great news! Youth Vote Philippines has just signed an agreement with GMA Network on a partnership that will bring our advocacies to GMA’s TV audience nationwide. This partnership aims to increase awareness among students, young professionals and the public on our programs that are focused on the need to get registered, the importance of voting wisely and making the youth more politically and socially aware.

We would like to share with you a video clip of our MOA signing yesterday with GMA Philippines. This was aired last night during 24Oras, Saksi and the late night news and was shown again this morning during its morning program Unang Hirit and again this afternoon at Balitanghali.

http://www.gmanews.tv/largevideo/related/37677/Saksi-GMA-Youth-Vote-Phils-sign-MOA-for-2010-polls

Our online portal is in its final stage of development and can be viewed at http://www.youthvotephilippines.com. (comments welcome!) A formal launch will be made once all the technical features have been finalized.

We thank all those who have continuously supported Youth Vote Philippines. YVP is a consolidated force of reform oriented youth groups whose programs are geared towards efforts for voter’s registration and voter’s education. We bring to the groups a common platform for cooperation through our online portal and a solid foundation of support through the YPS alliance of young leaders and organizations. We are non-partisan but take pride in having organizations from different reform camps who, with integrity, come together to ensure full cooperation in addressing areas of mutual concern.

A special thanks goes out to our media liaison officer Niel Lim who was the moving force behind this partnership with GMA. Looking forward to an exciting year ahead!

We will step up and take the lead!

Sincerely,

Ching Jorge

Lead Convenor

Young Public Servants, Youth Vote Philippines


Delisted QC voters told to register anew

January 29, 2009


By Anna Valmero

INQUIRER.net

First Posted 11:35:00 01/28/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections has started notifying 151, 157 residents in Quezon City who have been delisted to register again, an official said.

The names of 113, 395 and 37, 762 voters in the second and third districts, respectively, were removed from the Quezon City Computerized Voters’ List during the Election Registration Board (ERB) hearing on January 19, said James Jimenez, Comelec spokesman.

Jimenez said deactivation was a way to “cleanse the voters’ list.”

“We expect more names of deactivated voters. The National Capital Region Comelec offices will finalize the numbers of deactivated voters by early February. Under the law, the Comelec will notify the deactivated voters, who are given until December to reactivate their registration,” said Jimenez.

Under Section 27 of Republic Act 8189, registered voters will be deactivated from the Comelec voters’ list for “failure to vote in the last two regular elections” specifically in the May 14, 2007 synchronized national and local elections and the Oct. 29, 2007 Barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth) Elections.

Lawyer Dinah Valencia, Comelec second district election officer, sent letters starting January 5, advising deactivated voters in the second district to file for reactivation of registration at her office from January 27 to December 15.

At least 17, 124 letters have been delivered to the deactivated voters and that more letters would be sent until March, said Ma. Teresa Gancita, election assistant II, Comelec Quezon City District II office, in a phone interview.

Gancita noted that the bulk of the letters were returned to the Comelec office, stating that the voter no longer lived in the address registered with the poll body.

The Comelec will decide in the second ERB hearing in March if the person’s name will be deleted from the voters’ list, said Gancita.

Third district election officer Evelyn Bautista said aside from notification via mail, they tapped the 37 village leaders to help in information dissemination.

“We sought the help of the barangay chairman in the 37 barangay to post the list of deactivated voters on the barangay bulletin boards and they welcomed the idea, saying it is one way of giving early advise to the voters and surveying if the voters still reside in the area,” said Bautista.

Bautista said they would start sending letters this week to advise delisted voters to reactivate their records.

“We waited for the ERB to release the final set of voters’ names because we do not want to send premature notifications, which already happened before,” said Bautista.

Under Section 28 of RA 8189, registered voters could file a sworn application for reactivation of registration not later than 120 days before the regular elections.

Jimenez said voters could bring one valid ID, excluding a barangay residential certificate, and fill up a form for reactivation of registration at the Office of the Election Officer in the municipality a voter is registered.

If the application is approved, the election officer will retrieve the registration record from the inactive file and include the voter’s record in the precinct book of voters, he said.


Comelec gets ready to purge current voter’s list

January 26, 2009

01/26/2009 | 02:04 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said that it would purge voters from the voter’s list who had not voted in the past two elections.

Comelec spokesperson James Arthur B. Jimenez said that there were 53,000 voters who were deactivated or taken off the voter’s list in Bacolod.

“We [will tell] these deactivated voters that they [will] need to re- register if they wish to vote in the next elections. This method is actually a part of efforts to cleanse the voter’s list,” Mr. Jimenez
said in a statement issued on Sunday.

The Comelec has been criticized for not actively pursuing the purchase of biometric data scanning machines to cleanse the voter’s list.

The Comelec said that machines that cross-match the biometric data, or fingerprints, of a voter are expensive and that they would rather focus on getting the elections automated.

Mr. Jimenez said that deactivated voters have until the end of the year to register again. Continuing registration has yielded 45,000 new registrants in Metro Manila alone.

No national numbers have yet been released by the Comelec but the poll body expects around one to two million new voters for the upcoming elections.

Meanwhile, Comelec Chairman Jose Armando R. Melo said in a separate interview that of the 17 vendors with optical mark reader technology, around a third have expressed interest in bidding for the automation of the 2010 national elections.

“Many of the companies interested are South Korean, American and Indian. But we have no preference yet, not even for those companies whose technology we have used before,” said Mr. Melo.

He added that bidding can commence once the budget is approved and the terms of reference are released. Even companies that have previously won contracts with the Comelec may also bid. The Comelec has decided to use the optical mark reader technology, which scans marked ballots over the direct recording electronic system, which uses touch pads.

The Comelec has been given a supplemental budget of P11.3 billion for the automation of elections.

Automating the national elections has been planned since 1998 but several failed bids have prevented its installation.

– Emilia Narni J.

David, BusinessWorld

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/145872/Comelec-gets-ready-to-purge-current-voters-list


Comelec opts for slower, cheaper system

January 20, 2009

By Kristine L. Alave

Philippine Daily Inquirer

First Posted 04:34am (Mla time) 01/20/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Computing & Information Technology, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippines—Cheap has won over fast.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will use the less expensive paper-based Optical Mark Reader (OMR) technology instead of the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) system using the faster touch screen technology in the country’s first computerized elections in 2010.

Comelec Chair Jose Melo on Monday said they were following the recommendation of the poll body’s advisory council to use the OMR instead of the DRE.

Melo said “affordability” was the main concern as the agency had asked for only P11.9 billion from the government for the 2010 polls.

“It’s the OMR,” he said. “It has a paper trail and paper audit, so there’s proof of the vote.”

Melo noted the OMR, where voters mark specially-printed ballots that are scanned and recorded into computers, was widely used abroad.

Touch-screen systems used in the November 2008 presidential elections in the United States were fraught with problems, with complaints that votes were not recorded properly, he said.

Melo said that there were also fears the touch-screen system could be easily hacked.

The Comelec tested the two technologies in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao elections last August.

The DRE was found to be faster in transmitting results but the OMR was much cheaper, Melo noted.

The Comelec had initially asked for P21 billion for the automated polls, but this was rejected by the lawmakers. The amount was lowered to P11.9 billion.

Since Congress has yet to approve the Comelec’s supplemental budget, Melo has asked lawmakers to act immediately so the poll body could bid out the project.

The poll chair said they hope to have the funds by mid-February so they could go full steam ahead on preparations and test the machines.


Nine out of 10 Pinoys interested in 2010 polls: Pulse Asia

January 14, 2009

abs-cbnNEWS.com | 01/14/2009 10:56 AM

Nine out of every ten Filipinos are looking forward to the 2010 elections, according to the results of the latest Pulse Asia survey released Wednesday.

In an October 2008 Ulat ng Bayan survey, Pulse Asia found that 90 percent of Filipinos said that they are “interested in the coming electoral exercise,” with 87 percent of respondents saying that they are “likely to vote.”

On the other hand, the survey said that the remaining 10 percent of its respondents are either disinterested or undecided regarding their stand in the upcoming elections.

Pulse Asia said that small majority of Filipinos–or 59 percent–believe that the elections will push through in 2010, with 47 percent saying that there will be a lot of trouble in case elections are not held as scheduled.

Only 12 percent of Filipinos see the postponement of the 2010 elections, while 30 percent are undecided.

The nationwide survey covered 1,200 representative adults from Classes A to E. Pulse Asia said that their survey has a ± 3 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level.

Factors considered during the period when the survey was conducted include the global financial crisis, the filing of a new impeachment complaint against President Arroyo, the Supreme Court decision on the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain, and the euro generals controversy.

Other issues taken into account include the P728-million fertilizer fund scam, the deportation of former agriculture secretary Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante, and the melamine scare in China.


Most Pinoys want polls computerized

January 11, 2009

By Rainier Allan Ronda Updated January 09, 2009 12:00 AM

gen4ip4

Commission on Elections Chairman Jose Melo administers the oath in this file photo to newly-appointed Comelec commissioners Leonard Leonida, Lucenito Tagle and Armando Velasco.

Joven Cagande

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino voters are almost unanimously for poll automation, which they believe is the best defense against fraud, results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.

The survey, commissioned by party-list group Akbayan, showed 92 percent of Filipino voters in favor of poll automation while eight percent sees no need for the Arroyo administration to prioritize it.

Loreta Ann “Etta” Rosales, former Akbayan party-list lawmaker and now president of think tank Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms, said the government should take the cue from the SWS findings.

She noted that Commission on Elections Chairman Jose Melo appeared unenthusiastic about poll automation.

“It is unfortunate that the Election Automation Law has long been enacted by Congress but the Filipinos have yet to see its full implementation,” Rosales said.

“I find it very sad that chair Melo is actually not in favor of it and also of cleansing the voter’s list, saying that it’s too late already,” Rosales told The STAR.

But Melo, on a separate occasion, told reporters that he was confident of favorable action from lawmakers on a proposed P8-billion supplemental budget for poll automation.

Rosales called on both the executive and the legislative departments to provide and release the funding crucial to poll automation.

“If we really want change in the electoral system, we have to modernize the voting, counting and canvassing process. This is a test of political will,” Rosales said.

She said the SWS survey showed that the desire for automated elections runs across all segments of society.

Rosales stressed that while the effort may entail a huge cost, the result would be invaluable.

“Although the full implementation of the law may entail a higher cost, this investment is all worth it in the long run,” she said.

Rosales said that the pilot testing of automated voting in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao last August had shown that it could be done effectively across the country.

“If we were able to do it in ARMM, there is no reason why we can’t do it for the rest of the country. Our people do not want anything less than full automation,” Rosales said.

Senators Richard Gordon and Edgardo Angara had earlier assured Comelec of a budget allocation for poll automation.

“We cannot be haphazard in implementing the automation law. Comelec needs adequate time and resources to ensure that the Filipino voters, including our teachers and election officials, are ready for electronic voting,” Rosales added.

Rosales said the Comelec earlier estimated the number of “polluted” voters at 2.5 million.

“This is a conservative estimate of Comelec,” she said. “GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) won by 1.1 million over FPJ (Fernando Poe Jr). That’s far less than 2.5 million. The point is you have to clean up your registered voters’ list,” she added. “That means you have to set up biometrics and make sure you will remove double registrants which can be done in an automated election.”

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=430291