Cebu PCOS machines tested, sealed

Cebu City, Cebu - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Cebu City yesterday conducted final testing and sealing of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines designated in the different public schools that will serve as polling places on Monday, May 13, in the city.

Comelec Central Visayas Director Temie Lambino said aside from complaints of teachers regarding the delay in the arrival of the machines yesterday, no other major setbacks were experienced in the final distribution, testing, and sealing of the PCOS machines in Cebu City's 80 barangays.

The delay, he said, was mainly due to the lack of vehicles that will transport the machines to the different public schools in the city. Each vehicle that transported the PCOS machines were accompanied by policemen, representatives from the Comelec, and personnel from the City Treasurer's Office. Lambino said technicians were also on standby during the entire testing period.

"The delay was really not very integral to the testing and sealing because we have scheduled the entire day for the activity," Lambino said, reacting to complaints made by some public school teachers.

Tampered and dirty ballots were purposely fed into the PCOS machines as part of the testing and Lambino said all of the machines did not accept the tampered and dirty ballots. The Central Visayas region's Comelec director expressed hope that the more than 500 PCOS machines will all be functioning well on election day.

Lambino said PCOS machines that will be found defective will be checked by technicians who will try to repair the machines, otherwise, the Comelec will ask for a replacement. As of press time yesterday, the Comelec has not reported any defective machines.

On May 13, one PCOS machine technician will be assigned for every five machines in polling places here to ensure that all problems and issues will be immediately addressed on election day, said Lambino.

Meanwhile, during the security briefing conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Comelec, the police said three towns in Cebu are being closely watched ahead of the May 13 elections due to incidents of ballot box grabbing last week.

Cebu Provincial Police Office Director Patrocinio Comendador reported that supporters of two mayoral aspirants in Malabuyoc allegedly grabbed 18 ballot boxes and asked the police and election supervisors if these could be kept outdoors, where people can guard them.

They only relented when the town's election supervisor pointed out that the heat and occasional rain might destroy the ballot boxes and the PCOS machine. As a result of that and similar incidents, Malabuyoc and two other towns in Cebu are being closely, Comendador said.

The two other towns, Daanbantayan and Sogod, were also included in the election watch list.

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