By Hannah Torregoza
Re-electionist Senator Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay on Friday warned the government that power and communications outage during the May 2019 midterm elections could cast doubts on the credibility of this year’s elections.
That is why there should be a unified front for energy efficiency to ensure there would be no power shortage in the upcoming polls, Binay said.
With four weeks to go before the actual polls, Binay said it is necessary for the government to fend off the possibility of a power outage when Filipinos troop to poll precincts next month to exercise their right to suffrage.
Binay, who is running for another six-year term in the Senate, made the call after the five power plants in Luzon reported simultaneous shutdowns last Wednesday that put the grid on red alert.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has notified consumers of rolling brownouts.
“Siguro instead of pointing fingers, mas urgent na magkaisa tayo (its more important to unite to be able) to get to the bottom of the issue and address it properly,” Binay said.
The senator warned that a power outage or communications breakdown during the elections might cast doubt on the credibility of the results of this year’s automated polls.
“Electricity and the Internet play a vital role during the national elections. Kaya hangga’t maaga pa (That’s why while it’s still early), Comelec should come up with contingency plans just in case there would be power and Internet outages,” the lawmaker stressed.
“Government should do its utmost so that not a shred of doubt threatens the integrity of the elections. A power or communications failure could be tantamount to a failure in elections,” she also said.
Binay, who is also vice-chair of the Senate committee on energy, also reiterated that the Comelec should guarantee that vote counting machines have working back-up power sources, and a stable Internet connectivity.
“With automated elections already mandated by law, the lack of power and communications present considerable difficulties on the part of Comelec,” she pointed out.
“Rotating brownouts is a hot issue for everyone. We don’t want to darken the outlook of the May 2019 elections, that is why it’s important that all government agencies will help to prevent a power outage to ensure a credible election,” she added.