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Vote Automation in the Philippines
The dilemna of the Filipinos
Year 2010 is as hot as El Nino at the political arena in the Philippines. Vote Automation is the most-talked-about topic among the strata of the society, especially registered voters. As Smartmatic declared: 90 million Filipino inhabitants, 82, 000 voting machines, 350,000 voting precincts in a nation composed of 7, 107 islands.
With the multi-party system being implemented in the country, people are getting confused as to whom they will cast their ‘sacred’ votes in the upcoming elections.
Political media ads flood the radio, television and newspaper outlets, not to mention the campaign posters in all sizes being pasted at the main streets in the cities, towns or even far flung barangays. Political gimmicks are everywhere, from clean to dirty tactics, just to evoke sympathy from the people.
International media is watching and recording every detail of the first ever automated elections in the country. Different opinions are broadcast everywhere, including the negative incidents that are politically related or motivated that often lead to killing innocent people.
Factors to consider in the first automated elections
Under the Philippine Constitution, overseas Filipino workers (OFW) can cast their votes earlier than the regular date of national elections in the country. The recent incident on absentee voting saw the failure of the automated machines called Precinct Count Optical Scan(PCOS) used to count the votes cast by the OFWs in Hongkong. The personnel in the national office of Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in Manila assured the voters that it will never happen in the actual elections. They further supported their press releases all over the country that ‘everything will be alright’ when election comes. The condition of voting machines and computers can hinder the safe and fast elections we are all clamoring. More money from the government’s budget will be wasted if the vote canvassing will be half-automated and half-manually counted.
2. Peace and order
The minimal visibility of police or military forces at known ‘political hot spots’ in the country can boost the leftist groups to cause the failure of elections. There are many ‘what ifs’ that Travel Man foresee, based from the past national elections, that can cause the failure of elections. Destruction of the automated voting machines, military and rebel encounter during the elections are among the usual scenario that most voters fear. Not to mention the ‘rotating brownout’ that plagues the country these days.
There are augmentation forces that will guard the peace and order during the coming elections. But, will it be enough to drive away and hamper the destructive plans of these rebels?
3. Automated Voting Machines
SmartMatic, Inc. won the bid for providing sets of automated voting machines that will be used for the first automated elections in the country.
Doubters didn’t believe that the elections will be successful if those machines fail. Things to consider when using the machines are the hot weather in the country today, the availability of telecommunication signals in the main islands in the archipelago where the known voting precincts are located.
4. Advocates for Clean Elections
The two known political ‘watchdogs’ or the citizens’ arms for the upcoming elections are the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL). PPCRV is supported by many churches and NAMFREL are people’s organizations who are trusted in the country. Will these two be enough to guard the election returns and let the ‘true’ results prevail?
5. Solidity of Votes and Regionalism
There are many ethnic groups in every region in the country. People from the northern part, especially the Ilocanos are known to vote solidly in one candidate they want to win. If their incumbent local officials endorsed a certain national candidate, for example for president, most probably, they will support this candidate.
There are churches who also endorse candidates to their followers that solidify the votes of the group.
Regionalism also affects every election that is conducted in the country. If a candidate comes from either Luzon, Visayas or Mindanao regions, he/she will garner more votes to his/her place or the so-called ‘home court advantage’.
2010 COMELEC Voting Automation Machine Info by PINASISM3
CAMPAIGN PHOTOS IN THE PHILIPPINES 2010
Philippine Presidential Elections by benign00
Travel Man's Fearless Forecasts
Perusing the pages and my friends accounts in many social networking sites, like Facebook, there are opinions (both positive and negative) emanating/surfacing regarding the presidential candidates in the forthcoming elections in the Philippines. Travel Man carefully recorded some important notes to consider when choosing or voting the presidential candidates. These are advises you can take into consideration, to ponder on, or just ignore if you don't want to participate in the elections.
- The presidential bet for administration party, Lakas-NUCD-CMD, Gilbert "GIbo" Teodoro, who's party members are slowly transferring to other political groups, will have the backing of the police force in the land, I don't know the armed forces, that's what my mole said. Supporters can be identified with the type of baller (or rubber wristband) they are wearing. Although, he's considered the dark horse in many surveys, the sympathy of voters in the provinces can make him the next possible president of the country. The only minus in his qualifications is his connection with the incumbent president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who's been accused of many political wrongdoings in the government.
- Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III has a bloodline in politics. The only drama being cooked for his supremacy in survey ratings is his being a son of the most politically dedicated couple in the country, the slain Senator Benigno 'Ninoy' Aquino , Jr. and deposed former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. I don't know if the Liberal Party will sustain his popularity with the help of his sisters, especially the youngest and movie star Kris Aquino.
- Manuel "Manny" Villar of Nationalista Party is sure likely to win, according to Travel Man. With all the media ads being sung by the children and the backing of very formidable line-up of legislators or senators, nothing can be wrong. Except, if there's manipulations that will happen or expected to happen. Some groups of businessmen are trying to turn him down and will do all the things possible to let him fail. Talk about 'crab mentality.'
- Former president Joseph "Erap" Estrada of Partido ng Masang Pilipino (Filipino Masses Party)is also favor to win, again. The only big BUT is can he still persuade the masses to vote for him? After all the shame he suffered during the impeachment in 2000, what else should he promise anew to the Filipino citizen?
Travel Man further stressed that this will be the four main candidates for presidency that will surely 'rock' the vote of the people. But wait...what will be the fate of other less favored candidates? Or with just secular followers to back them up?
Travel Man said: "I will vote for one of them." Can you guess his bet?
- Is it Brother Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas (Arise Philippines)? He's a charismatic founding pastor of Jesus is Lord (JIL) a Christian Fellowship who draws massive followers from renewed Christians in the country.
- Will it be Richard "Dick" Gordon (Bagumbayan or New NationParty_? He's dubbed as the father of SBMA (Subic Bay Management Authority) in Pampanga who generated many jobs to many Filipinos, especially the youth.
- Could it be Nicanor Perlas (Independent)? He's a well-known environmentalist in the country and the Global Consultant in Integral Sustainable Development.
- How about John Carlos "JC" delos Reyes of Kapatiran (Brotherhood)? His the nephew of other presidential candidate Richard Gordon and an achiever , too, on his own right.
- Will he choose KBL (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan or New Society Movement) standard bearer Vetallano Acosta? KBL is the party of the deposed president-dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
- Or will Travel Man back this independent lady who's vying of the most-coveted port in the country, Jamby Madrigal?
Filipino people will not only choose the next president, but also choose the next vice president and the next twelve senators come May 11, 2010.
Aside from these national posts, marginalized sectors or farmers, fishermen, overseas workers and the like will be represented through the party list groups. Travel Man heard that most of the politicians who will run for national and local positions are also backing these groups.