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GMA to have direct access to Comelec’s data in 2016 elections

GMA Network will have direct access to the Commission on Elections' data during the May 9, 2016 national elections.

This was after GMA top executives and Comelec commissioners on Wednesday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to set up the Comelec-GMA transparency server.

The server grants GMA access to Comelec data, including the electronic copy of election returns (ERs) as soon as they are transmitted from precincts, municipal halls and provincial capitols to the Comelec central office.

Other media outfits will also be able to access Comelec data by connecting to the Comelec-GMA transparency server.

Under the MOA, GMA will also be given access to the Comelec's voters' electronic database for GMA News Online's “Find Your Precinct” application.

The MOA also allows GMA, subject to implementation of appropriate security protocol, read-only access to raw data from Comelec's server and use of the same for analysis and extrapolation.

Under the agreement, GMA in turn shall spearhead the production of Comelec's advocacy campaigns regarding biometrics registration and voting using automated machines.

GMA will also produce a video to be used for the training of board of election inspectors in the upcoming polls, and work with Comelec to produce a program on voters' education.

The MOA was signed by GMA Network chairman and chief executive officer Felipe L. Gozon, GMA executive vice president and chief finance officer Felipe Yalong, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., and Comelec commissioner Christian Robert Lim.

“This 2016 presidential elections will spell the difference betweeen the success or failure of our government and its people. That is why we at GMA are going to strive even harder to deliver accurate, up-to-date, and relevant information to aid the public and the voters in choosing the right leaders,” Gozon said in a speech before the signing of the MOA.

“Rest assured, Chairman Brillantes and the members of the Commission, that the Comelec's mandate to conduct clean, honest and peaceful elections will find home in Filipino hearts through our television, radio and internet portals or platforms, in the local, national and international areas that we reach,” he added.

Brillantes, for his part, stressed the Commission's continued confidence in GMA, saying that it aims to continue the partneship even beyond the 2016 elections.

“I was reading it [the MOA] this morning and I saw that this is probably the most comprehensive media election coverage...Ako po ay natutuwa na nakikita ko na itong GMA ay talagang masyadong dinidibdib ang election...Let me end by saying that we really like to be in partnership with you and we really hope that this would be a continuing relationship in all subsequent electoral observances,” Brillantes said.

Also present during the signing of the MOA were Comelec commissioners Luie Tito Guia, Lucenito Tagle, Elias Yusoph, Comelec Education and Information Department director James Jimenez, Election and Barangay Affairs Department director Teofisto Elnas Jr. and Provincial Elections supervisor Sabino Mejarito.

For GMA Network, present during the signing were senior vice president and head of GMA News and Public Affairs Marissa L. Flores, first vice president for GMA Regional TV and concurrent head of GMA News and Public Affairs' Expansion and Production Services Rikki O. Escudero, senior vice president of GMA New Media Inc. Angelo L. Bugarin, general manager and SVP of GMA New Media Inc. Dingdong Caharian, assistant vice president for GMA News Michelle Seva and GMA News Online publisher Sheila Paras. — BM, GMA News