The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is getting ready for the 2025 hybrid national and local elections, the Senate Electoral Reforms Committee chaired by Senator Imee Marcos learned on Wednesday, April 12.
Comelec gets ready for the 2025 hybrid national and local elections
At a glance
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is getting ready for the 2025 hybrid national and local elections.
This, after the Comelec decided to issue in April a Terms of Reference for the technology to be used in the elections, Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia said during a hearing of the Senate Electoral Reforms Committee chaired by Senator Imee Marcos on Wednesday, April 12.
Garcia said the Comelec decided to issue a Terms of Reference although it has not yet received guidance from the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC).
The CAC members are from the academe, non-government electoral reform organizations, information and communication technology (ICT) professional organizations, and select government agencies.
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Brenda Nazareth-Manzano and Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Alain del Pascua are representatives from the government.
Garcia stressed the need to start in July the procurement process for the 2025 elections where a decision has to be made on whether or not new systems and new equipment are to be used.
Garcia said the process for the purchase of the machines was long as it requires end to end testing. It also needs the acquisition of 30 international certifications and other requirements before the elections.
Garcia said the CAC has not replied to the two requests of Comelec for guidance on the technology to be used.
The Comelec has to get the guidance of CAC so that it would not be faulted for lack of consultation.
The DICT said the CAC would meet this month. It had convened twice this month.
Marcos also conducted a public hearing to pursue efforts in conducting national and local elections, including that of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), through manual and automated voting and counting.
Discussed was Senate Bill (SB) No.179 filed by Marcos herself. The senator said the measure seeks to come out with a new Omnibus Election Code.
She stressed that the proposal to conduct hybrid elections had already reached the plenary during the previous Senate.
SB No.179 seeks to expand the definition of election returns to include printed forms and manually accomplished forms to reflect manual count at the precinct level, Marcos explained.
Senator Robinhood Padilla, who topped the senatorial race last year, asked whether or not a hybrid election system is indeed beneficial for the Philippines.
"If that [hybrid voting and counting system] is implemented, do we really want to have two systems - automated and manual - and would it entail a bigger budget?" Padilla said in Filipino.
Marcos said the combination of counting systems is for the benefit and assurance of voters who want to see their votes counted.
She added that the budget for the next elections might rise as the new hybrid counting systems will have to be implemented nationwide.