DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines — The simultaneous mock elections nationwide was set last December 12 and moved to supposedly yesterday ( Jan. 26), but the Comelec had postponed it again to next Saturday (Feb. 2).
According to Negros Oriental OIC provincial election supervisor Jerome Brillantes, his office is still waiting for the guidelines on the conduct of the mock polls.
Brillantes said the areas earlier identified for the holding of the mock elections however remain the same: Barangays Poblacion 1 and Camanjac in Dumaguete City, and Poblacion and Kabulakan in Sta. Catalina town
As such, the composite Diocesan Electoral Board (DEB) of the Diocese of Dumaguete will deploy monitoring teams for the mock elections set at these pre-identified areas in Negros Oriental.
In a meeting last Friday, Msgr. Julius Heruela, convenor of the DEB, said monitoring teams were allowed and duly recognized by the Comelec to observe the mock elections because this is the critical part of the preparations for the May 13 mid-term polls.
Heruela said the deployment of monitoring teams to these areas was in accordance with the Jan. 25, 2013 memo issued by Henrietta de Villa, national chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the citizens’ arm duly recognized by the Comelec as watchdog and observer of the electoral exercise.
The PPCRV is a member of the DEB and is joined by the Comelec , the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, representatives of other churches, non-government organizations, people’s organizations and the public and private media, among others.
In her memo to the PPCRV archdiocesan and diocesan coordinators, de Villa said the mock elections is a critical part of the preparations for the upcoming pools “in order to develop confidence, acceptance and general appreciation by the public on the automated election system (AES), as well as to simulate the voting, canvassing, and transmission procedures.”
The mock elections will serve as “a dry run for the PPCRV for the actual elections which will also give us the opportunity to evaluate our preparedness in monitoring the conduct of the 2013 elections,” added de Villa.
In Negros Oriental, only 50 registered voters in the selected polling places in Dumaguete and Sta. Catalina for the mock elections are designated by the barangay chairman in coordination with the election officer of that town or city. Voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. only.
The Board of Election Inspectors in these polling places are expected to be at their respective assignments ahead of the designated hours of voting and “in the presence of voters and poll watchers set up the PCOS (precinct count optical scan) machine and thereafter make the utilization report and open the voting,” she said.
Guidelines on the voting procedures during the mock elections were already handed down to the PPCRVs and the DEB as basis for reporting to the national headquarters afterwards. Members of media are allowed to enter the polling places to cover the exercise.
Monitoring teams and volunteers deployed during the mock elections are to record the conduct of the mock elections, the transmission of election results and any hitches that may take place during the said activity, said de Villa in her memo. By Judy Flores Partlow (The Freeman)