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Commissioner Rene Sarmiento of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) addressed 40 NGOs and policy think-tanks on September 23 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel during the last KAS Partner Workshop under the leadership of 6 ½ year country representative Klaus Preschle.
Sarmiento stressed during his presentation the importance of first-time and previous voters to register for this election due to the requirement of biometrics in the confirmation of voters through digital image, digital fingerprinting and digital signature. To assist this process, COMELEC created satellite and mobile registration centers all over the nation to ensure more ease. He said that COMELEC is prepared to conduct the first nationwide fully automated elections this coming 2010. Everything will be fully automated from counting votes to transmission and canvassing of results through the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) Machine. The voter shades oval circles of a paper ballot. The PCOS Machine generates elections returns and transmits for consolidation and canvassing by a server. Sarmiento articulated that local and national election results will be available in a matter of days.
In addition COMELEC has deputized Department of Education (DepEd) and Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao DepEd to facilitate conduct of the site survey, Telecommunications Office and Philippine Postal Corporation to conduct the site survey, and Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to provide security and additional personnel.
Ms Beverly Hagerdon-Thakur, Chief of Party of the International for Electoral Systems (IFES) Philippines spoke on values education while Associate Dean Dr. Dennis Gonzalez of the Ateneo School of Government spoke on KAS project on candidates’ education, particularly book How to Win an Election: Lessons from the Experts and leadership training tied to it.
KAS partners included Asian Institute of Management Policy Center, Technical Assistance Center for Development of the Rural and Urban Poor, Local Government Development Foundation, Institute for Autonomy and Governance, Ateneo School of Government, Centrist Policy Institute, Senate Economic Planning Office, Congressional Planning and Budget Department and many more.