Comelec allocates P30-M for acquisition of UV lamps for May 10 polls

April 5, 2010 10:33 pm 

MANILA, April 5 — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has allocated P30 million for the acquisition of 80,000 ultra violet (UV) lamps that will be used by the teachers or Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) to identify the UV mark on the official ballots for the May 10 polls.

Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said that although a bidding has already been conducted for the purchase of the UV detectors, the poll body still has to formally award the contract.

“That was bidded out already, but we have yet to award it… Maybe in about a week,” he said.

For his part, Cesar Flores, Smartnmatic-Asia Pacific president, said the scanning of the ballots using the UV lamp will not be a burden for the BEIs since they can scan the ballot at the same time while showing the ballot to the voter that he/she is getting an empty ballot.

“The only additional thing is the BEI will take the lamp and when they show the ballot for the absence of the mark, they will show that there’s a bar code. So it doesn’t really require additional time since it's already part of the procedure to show the ballots are empty,” he explained.

Flores added that the advantage of having the ballots scanned in front of the voters is that they will confirm for themselves that they are getting original ballots.

According to the Comelec, they decided to switch off the UV mark on the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines as "the UV marks have lost the alignment in the ballots."

Flores noted that aside from UV mark, all the ballots have UV invisible marks and that all ballots are precinct specific and bar code specific.

“The machines will still be ejecting fake ballots and the only change now is the verification is done by BEIs,” Flores said.

Meanwhile, the Smartmatic official reported that as of Monday, the National Printing Office (NPO) had printed more than 32 million ballots.

“We’ve printed more than 32 million ballots. Comelec and NPO did not stop printing the ballots during the Holy Week,” he said.

The NPO is using five printers to print the more than 50 million ballots for the May 10 automated elections. (PNA)

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