April 27, 2010 in Featured
By JAN MICHAEL R. VILLA
BAGUIO CITY — A voters’ education and a mock election was held Monday at the vegetable section of the Baguio public market. Over 500 participated in the said activity.
The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) in cooperation with Baguio-Benguet Market Plaza Cooperative, Multipurpose (Bamapcom) sponsored the activity aimed to give voters a better understanding on the first automated polls in the country.
PPCRV is the COMELEC’s partner in safeguarding votes for a clean, honest, accurate, meaningful and peaceful May 10 election.
PPCRV Secretary General (National Executive Board) Brother Clifford T. Sarita said, “Monday’s mock election was only part of the organizations activity covering 89 dioceses in the country including Baguio City. PPCRV’s information drive started last February and ends April 30.
“This mock election aims to train the voters to use the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to be used in the automated election”, Sarita added.
The Voters Education campaign was mostly participated by vendors and buyers at the market who are residents of Baguio and from other provinces. The voters registered, were given sample ballots with corresponding names of the national and local candidates.
Meanwhile, a screen projected the ads used by Comelec to inform voters of the new system. A large sample ballot with the list of national and local candidates with their corresponding numbers and parties was posted in the venue.
Moreover, voters practiced shading the ovals next to the names of the candidates they chose. With the PCOS machines, voters were oriented and trained to insert the ballots to the black counting machine. They were shown how to handle the long ballots and not fold them. They were told not to overvote so the machine will not reject their ballot.
Comelec has assured the public that the PCOS machines have batteries that can operate if a brownout occurs.
Lolim Gomez, a flower vendor, said that the new voting system is easier and faster compared to manual election. “This voters’ education is a great help for the automated election”, Gomez added. Bamapcom Board of Director Nenita Chadey said that those who participated in the voters education learned and they are now ready for May 10.
According to Robert Andress, a theater artist who volunteers and helps organizations taking part in the voters’ education, this is a chance for voters to learn the new voting system. Andress added that national elections occur once every six years and Filipinos should practice the right to vote.
The mock election results were not printed because the sample ballots used were ordinary paper and not the real ballots recognized by the PCOS machine. The voters though were able to practice placing the ballots in the machine.
PPCRV advised the voters that before election day, they should know their chosen candidates, know their precint and not overvote.
PPCRV held a similar activity in Naga City. # nordis.net