Final testing and sealing of a VCM in a clustered precinct in Bataraza. (Photo via via Cheryl J-ann Domine)

Some vote-counting machines (VMCs) deployed in clustered precincts in Palawan encountered issues Wednesday during the conduct of final accuracy testing to ensure they will function properly on May 9.

Commission on Elections (COMELEC) provincial spokesperson Jomel Ordas said Thursday that despite this, the holding of the final testing and sealing (FTS) on Wednesday, May 4, was “generally successful”.

“Successful pa rin, kasi iba ang sitwasyon natin sa Palawan dahil ikumpara mo tayo sa ibang provinces, sa kanila maganda ang mga transportation, malalapit lang. Sa atin iba — tatawid pa ng dagat. Kaya out of 1,216 merong 11 na nagka-problema ng VCM. Karamihan naman doon nasolusyunan naman,” he told Palawan News.

The VCM problems encountered during yesterday’s implementation of the FTS were failure to detect secure digital (SD) cards, ballot misreading, paper jams, overheating, blank or black liquid crystal display (LCD), and iButton malfunction, he said on Wednesday in an update to the media.

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They were encountered in Bataraza (1 VCM), Brooke’s Point (2 VCMs), Quezon (3 VCMs), Rizal (1 VCM), Sofronio Española (1 VCM), San Vicente (1 VCM), Roxas (1 VCM), and Puerto Princesa City (1 VCM).

“Sa ngayon meron tayong 5 VCMs for repair/replacement. Ang ibang problems ay na-resolve din agad sa tulong ng COMELEC Election Monitoring and Action Center (CEMAC),” he said.

“Yong isa sa Brooke’s Point, 2 sa Quezon, 1 sa San Vicente ay naayos rin kanina (May 4) samantalang ang isa sa PPC, isa sa Quezon, at isa sa Roxas, naghihintay pa ng advise ng CEMAC. At yong natitirang apat pala ay na-declare na for replacement. Ang ibang problem kasi ay tungkol naman SD card (1 sa Quezon for replacement) at mga iButtons naman,” he said.

Four of the total number of VCMs that discovered faults, he added, will be replaced since they have “back-up or contingency VCMs”, and are expecting more to arrive today, May 5.

He said they have 11 VCM units in their office and there are municipalities in Palawan that have one each, except for Coron, which has three.

“Dahil malapit na ang eleksyon, ire-replace kaagad siya ng contingency VCMs. Actually, ang unang pinaabot sa amin mga 25. May 11 dito sa office, tapos may mga munisipyo na may isa, sa Coron tatlo kasi sa Buscucolin (Busuanga, Culion, Coron, Linapacan) area. Ire-replace agad siya — ini-expect namin ngayong araw darating para makapag conduct agad ng FTS kasi kailangan mag-FTS talaga yong may mga problemang VCM,” he said.

As of May 4, he said FTS had been completed and successful in 1,206 out of 1,216 clustered precincts (CPs) in the city and province. Partially completed were 7 FTS in Roxas (1 CP), Taytay (1 CP), Bataraza (1 CP), Brooke’s Point (1 CP), Quezon (2 CPs), Sofronio Española (1 CP), and Puerto Princesa City (1 CP).

He added that only 11 FTS of 1,216 CPs were unsuccessful.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.