A Comelec adviser is confident that it would be “all systems go” for the automation of next year’s elections.
Science and Technology Undersecretary Fortunato de la Peña, a member of the Comelec Advisory Council, said starting November, the Smartmatic-TIM will begin training information technology-capable persons from the Comelec and Department of Science and Technology to operate the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.
The Comelec representatives will also train 160,000 personnel nationwide who will operate the machines, he added.
De la Peña said the training will be conducted simultaneously from March 1 to April 1, 2010.
“Those who would be trained would have to undergo preparations and certification from the DOST,” he said.
The Office of the Solicitor General said the poll automation contract did not violate Republic Act 9369, the Poll Automation Law.
“The only condition imposed by Congress in RA 9369 for the automation of the 2010 elections is that the AES to be procured must have demonstrated capability and must have been successfully used in a prior electoral exercise here or abroad,” the OSG said.
Last June, the Comelec awarded the automation project to Smartmatic-TIM, which would provided 82,200 PCOS machines to automate the counting, canvassing, and transmission of votes from precinct to board of canvassers.
Preparations for the project were delayed after a group of concerned citizens asked the SC to void the poll automation contract with Smartmatic.
It prompted the Comelec to go slow on its preparations in anticipation of a temporary restraining order.
However, the automated election in 2008 in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which used both PCOS and direct recording electronic units that served as electronic display ballots, was enough testing ground for automation, De la Peña said.