“We are at a very high level of preparedness by this time.”
This was how Commission on Elections spokesperson Director James Jimenez described the agency's state of readiness for Eleksyon 2019, which is scheduled for May 13, 2019.
Although the Comelec has already come up with contingency plans in case voting is disrupted, refresher courses for members of the Board of Election Inspectors now include earthquake scenarios.
“In general, we don’t expect too much of a problem in the provincial areas because outside of the big urban centers, ang mga polling centers natin, usually mabababa lang naman,” Jimenez said at a press conference on Monday.
Schools that will be used as polling places are currently being inspected.
“If we find any reason to worry about the structural integrity of the facilities, we could coordinate that immediately with the [Department of Education]. If necessary, a request can be filed for a transfer of polling place,” Jimenez said.
Aside from schools, transmission facilities such as communication towers and cables are also being inspected.
“So far, wala pang report na may naapektuhan. But ongoing yung pagre-review,” Jimenez added.
In case an earthquake occurs during voting hours on election day, voting will not necessarily be rescheduled. “Again, kailangang i-assess yung building. In general, the machines will be able to save where they are. So puwedeng pick up where you left off,” Jimenez explained.
In case an evacuation is necessary, “Yung machine naman, if it needs to be taken out, nandiyan naman ang BEI [Board of Election Inspectors]. Kayang-kaya naman nilang gawin 'yan. And of course, we need to ensure the safety of the ballot boxes habang may ongoing evacuation,” he added.
The printing of ballots has also been completed. Jimenez said the ballots are ready to be shipped as soon as the last one million ballots for the National Capital Region have been verified.
The Department of Energy has also assured the Comelec of a stable power supply, from three days before election day until the proclamation of winners.
Honoraria for the Board of Election Inspectors have also been released. — BM, GMA News