By Martin Sadongdong
Despite several issues that still need to be addressed, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) declared that all preparations have been set for the midterm elections today (Monday).
Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas said about 92 percent of the final and testing sealing (FTS) procedures have been accomplished nationwide and they expect that it will be completed by Sunday night.
“The Comelec is very ready and 92 percent of the FTS have been completed. Hopefully tonight, we can finish it across the country,” Abas told reporters at the National Board of Canvassers (NOC) Headquarters, Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on Sunday night.
Abas explained that there was a delay in the delivery of equipment in several areas in Caraga region and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), hence, the still unfinished FTS procedures.
“Based sa report, the delivery was delayed so it was not a technical problem. It’s okay and that’s manageable,” he said.
Meanwhile, the replacement of more than 600 corrupted SD cards have also been finished “100 percent” while the delivery and retrieval of more than 1 million marking pens was at 97 percent completion, Abas stated.
“Hopefully, the retrieval will be finished tonight so that we have no more problems tomorrow,” he said.
The Comelec have also set-up special polling precincts for persons with disabilities (PWDs), pregnant, senior citizens, and indigenous peoples, the Comelec Chair stressed.
Police Major General Mao Aplasca, PNP Directorate for Operations, said a total of 164,246 personnel were deployed to secure the midterm elections nationwide.
Aplasca said they will field at least two PNP personnel per polling precinct.
“We have also organized Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) prepositioned in hotspot areas just in case there will be any untoward incident,” Aplasca said.
“To our police, be apolitical and neutral. Let us do our jobs,” he added.
General Benjamin Madrigal, AFP Chief of Staff, said they have recorded at least 64 election-related incidents so far.
“Based on our latest count, there have been 64 election-related incidents. Not entirely violent incidents but included in the figure were reported apprehensions of private armed groups (PAGs),” Madrigal said.
Around 61 million Filipinos are expected to cast their votes for the local and national elections.