ABOUT 43,000 units out of the more than 97,000 vote counting machines (VCMs) to be used in the May elections are now in the country, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.
However, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez clarified that half of that number are still in the custody of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
“There are now 43,000 units of VCMs in the country, meaning to say they are in the Philippines right now. Unfortunately, around 24,000 of them are still in Customs.Hinihintay pa namin na lumabas from Customs,” he said.
A total of 20,244 units now in Comelec custody are now in the poll body’s warehouse in Santa Rosa City, Laguna, he added.
“Of that number, 19,739 have already been tested and accepted by the Comelec,” Jimenez said.
He added that the commitment of the vendor-manufacturer of the VCMs, Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM), is to deliver all the machines by the end of this month.
Jimenez said the poll body is still within the time line for the preparations in connection with the forthcoming polls.
“The status of our preparations, right now…everything is still within the timeline, so wala tayong pangamba. We are pretty confident that everything will still flow smoothly,” he added.
Meanwhile, Jimenez reported that the printing of the ballots has been moved to early February.
“As far as the ballot printing is concerned, we’ve revised the timeline a little bit so instead of starting on January 27…we are going to start printing on February 1. We want to be sure that all of the names that we are going to actually put out will be accurate to make sure na walang problems down the road. In any case, that’s just three days’ difference,” he said.
Jimenez added that prior to the scheduled printing, the Comelec will come up with a partial list of the candidates’ names for the public to be able to check on the names that might be included on the final list.
“It’s still an unfinished list but it will be a smaller list, let’s say the list of everyone who filed their Certificates of Candidacy. Just to be very clear, that wouldn’t be a final list of candidates yet but we are getting closer to that,” he explained.