Proper indelible ink to be used in polls – Comelec
By Mayen Jaymalin
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday assured the people that an effective indelible ink would be available in the May 2010 elections despite the planned re-bidding and delay in purchase.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the Comelec still has sufficient time to re-bid the supply contract and ensure the quality of the indelible ink.
“Don’t worry about it. (We will make sure) that even if the dye may be removed by a strong enough solvent, the discoloration of the skin cannot be removed,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez said the Comelec could easily handle bidding process for the purchase of indelible ink.
“Madaling procurement lang naman ito. Matagal na namin itong ginagawa. (It would be easy to procure because we have been doing this for sometime). We don’t expect any issue here (that will cause delays),” he said.
Rebidding set this week
He said the Comelec has tentatively set the re-bidding for the indelible ink this week.
Jimenez said a new bidding for the ink could be in the offing after Texas Resources Corp.’s product failed in the first test after the firm won the bidding.
The poll official stressed that a second bidding would be fair for all stakeholders since Texas Corp. had already failed.
The indelible ink plays a crucial role in determining whether an individual had already voted or not.
He said the Comelec is now 90 percent complete with the preparation and fully ready for the conduct of the elections.
“Considering that all major components in the conduct of the elections are already in place, I would say the Commission is now 90 percent ready for the elections,” Jimenez disclosed.
Jimenez said the commission has already delivered 800 ballot boxes to different strategic hubs and deliveries for other units will start this week.
“We started with the far flung areas and deliveries in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and other areas I believe will start next week,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez added that other election paraphernalia are already being packed and readied for delivery with about 6,000 ballot boxes still at Customs.
He said 35 million ballots have been printed and printing of the more than 50 million ballots necessary for the election is expected to be complete by April 25.
Jimenez said training of operators for the counting and canvassing system is also almost complete.
“Teachers have all been trained while the board of election inspectors are just waiting to be deployed. In fact, some of them have already been deployed and doing the testing and sealing of computer machines,” Jimenez pointed out.
About 40 percent of the polling precincts have already undergone testing and sealing procedures.
PNP prepares commanders
PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa has directed all police regional, provincial and station commanders to ensure that the May 10 elections will be peaceful and orderly.
Verzosa, who went around different regional and provincial police offices nationwide, reminded the 130,000 policemen nationwide to remain non-partisan and follow the law.
PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina said the PNP has already laid down preparations for the first ever automated elections.
“All systems go. All security preparations are in place and are being implemented nationwide,” Espina said.
Espina said the PNP continues to strictly implement the gun ban imposed by the Comelec from Jan. 10 to June 9 in connection with the national and local elections.
As of April 11, the National Election Monitoring Action Center (NEMAC) reported that 1,903 violators of the gun ban were arrested that included 1,706 civilians and 217 government employees. Police seized 1,612 firearms.
Checkpoints, gun ban boost drive vs crimes
Verzosa said the establishment of checkpoints and gun ban appeared to have also boosted the police campaign against street crimes.
He said there was a relatively peaceful situation in areas where the PNP set up checkpoints as part of the gun ban imposed by Comelec in preparation for national and local elections on May 10.
“We can see also that there’s relative peaceful environment in different areas where we have set up checkpoints, there was also slight decrease in incidents of crime,” said Verzosa.
The PNP announced that it has tightened security in the country and had placed police units in Western Mindanao (Region 9); Northern Mindanao (Region 10), Southern Mindanao (Region 11), Central Mindanao (Region 12), CARAGA (Region 13) and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on full alert status.
Espina said Regions 1 to 8 or the Ilocos Region (Region 1), Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3), Southern Tagalog (Region 4), Bicol Region (Region 5), Western Visayas (Region 6), Central Visayas (Region 7), Eastern Visayas (Region 8) and the National Capital Region on heightened alert status. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe