DepED appeals to Comelec for further extension of voting

May 10, 2010 8:08 pm 

MANILA, May 10 — Amidst complaints of long lines in polling centers nationwide and voters going home, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday appealed to the Commission on Election (Comelec) to be open for further extension so as to ensure a high voter turn-out provided that teachers are provided security at night.

“We have to determine the real voice of the people and that means allowing as many people as possible to vote today,” DepEd Assistant Secretary and Spokesman Jonathan Malaya said.

“We, at DepEd, appeal to Comelec to extend voting hours beyond 7pm as we have noted long lines of voters and we are alarmed that due to this some of them are going home,” Malaya said.

He said that the huge influx of voters in most of the polling precincts in the country has “overwhelmed” teachers who also have to contend with complaints of “lost” names and glitches in the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in use.

Malaya said the teachers assigned to poll duties are prepared to go the extra mile to accommodate the long queue and ensure that everybody is able to cast his vote.

Secretary Mona D. Valisno said that teachers serving as BEIs are prepared to accept votes so long as there are voters who wish to cast their ballots. “Suffrage is a fundamental right of every Filipino, so, our BEIs should be prepared to stay in the polling precincts to accept voters,” she said.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has extended the voting hours by one hour amid reports of delays that marred the start of voting earlier in the day. With the additional hour, voters can cast their votes until 7 p.m.

"We would like to inform everybody especially those out there voting and the Board of Election Inspectors that it seems that the start of the voting process was not as fast as we had expected or desired," Melo said at a press briefing at the Comelec.

Valisno also appealed to the voters not to vent their ire on the teachers and be patient as they wait their turn to vote.

“We appeal to the voters not to vent their ire on our teachers. A new system requires familiarization among voters and the clustering of precincts with 1,000 voters are the causes of delay and not the teachers per se,” Valisno said.

The Comelec has reduced the number of precincts to 76,347 from the more than 300,000 during the 2007 polls. (PNA)

DCT/HCT

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