Monday, May 6, 2013

COMELEC urges pessimists: 
Observe PCOS final 
test, sealing May 8 

CORTES, Bohol, May 6, 2013 (PIA) –The Commission on Elections is set to conduct a simultaneous key activity in the Visayas, to allow doubting Thomases to check on the integrity of the automated machines designed to accept and tabulate results on the May 13 polls. 

Bohol COMELEC Supervisor Leonil Marco Castillano said they are set to do the Final Testing and Sealing (FTS) of the Precinct Count Optical Scanners (PCOS) designated for each of the 1,355 voting precincts in Bohol. 

Bohol used to have 4,887 established precincts, but for this election, these have been clustered into 1,355 voting centers, each of them having a PCOS which would be used to read the cast ballots, tabulate the votes and then send them to Comelec servers immediately after the last ballot is cast. 

The law mandates that the FTS should not be done lesser than three days before the polls, this should give the election officers in towns to correct any problem and fix things on the day of the polls, Castillano said. 

At the radio voters’ education on the air, City COMELEC registrar Atty. Jonas Biliran said that the FTS is the perfect venue for people to watch and participate in the proceedings so as to witness the reliability and integrity of the PCOS. 

On the day of the FTS, the election officers test each PCOS by opening them up, making sure that the contained compact flash (CF) cards are all empty of content, all its operations are normal based on its programmed tasks. 

On this, the COMELEC allows ten voters to go through the usual process of voting, allow them to feed the ballots to the [PCOS] machines and then witness the count, explained Atty Ricardo Villares, during the radio voters’ education segment last week. 

Aside from the automated count by the PCOS, the law mandates the Comelec to do a corresponding manual count to check on the accuracy of the functions of the PCOS. 

Any problem with the machines; failure to tally with the manual count would be checked to make sure that each of the votes are counted and that the machines work as they are designed to, Atty. Biliran said. 

If things tally as they are, the PCOS are then finally sealed so that when tampered, the broken seals show. Comelec information officer Juvenal Beniga said. 

On the FTS however, election officers are given the discretion where to hold the activity, especially when transporting the delicate machines to their respective precincts could prove a risk and the machines are not secured from potential sabotage, Comelec also noted. 

In this light, we would like to invite interest groups, votes and watchers to observe and possibly participate in the FTS, so that the transparent activity could erase voter’s doubts on the rumors of rigged elections, Atty Villares invites. 

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Irrigation water now saving 
Drought-stricken Catigbian 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

CORTES, Bohol, May 6, 2013 (PIA) –Water from its newly completed irrigation projects start to flow into thirsty and drought stricken Catigbian farms, as local leaders opened the gate valves of the communal irrigation project last April 29. 

The development happened just in time when most local officials who would bow out of their terms after the May elections, would just cruise to the end of their sworn public service. 

But for this town’s leadership, hammering a general direction for Catigbian as a green haven for peace and development is apparently not enough. 

Mayor Roberto Salinas thinks leaving his people just dreaming of the development they painted is just so unacceptable. 

Given a long service as a team player and leader in the navy, Salinas, who has satisfactorily excelled in business management proven by a string of family-run businesses, now added a key skill in governance with his firm belief in convergence. 

With the government hinting it could finance through a synergy of local government support facilities, some P10 million worth of small irrigation projects, Catigbian immediately spun into motion to facilitate a Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) through the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Program III (ARISP 3) funding. 

With the National Irrigation Administration and with the help of the government of Japan, Catigbian tapped the DAR ARISP 3 for two small irrigation projects to improve productivity of its vast rain-fed rice-lands in Poblacion and Ambuan. 

Municipal Agrarian reform Officer Edgar Armachuelo said the project serves some 30 hectares of rice-lands in Ambuan and some 45 hectares in Poblacion. 

With a combined irrigation target of 75 hectares, the two small but multi-million irrigation projects in broke ground last August 30, 2012. 

Eight months later, April 29, 2013, no less than Dar Regional Director Rudy Inson and Bohol Agrarian Reform Officer Atty. Antonio del Socorro shared Catigbians success when they opened the gate valve for the water to start flowing into the already drought stricken Catigbian farms. 

The opening of the gate valves came just in time when Bohol officials already think of asking the government again for cloud seeding activities to save dying farms. 

The projects, as implemented in barangay Ambuan and Poblacion costs P10,430,040 from the Agrarian Reform infrastructure Support Project III and is in convergence with the National Irrigation Administration, Department of Agrarian Reform and the municipality of Catigbian. 

Records from the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer revealed that Poblacion project gets P5,617,680 while Ambuan project costs P4, 812, 360.

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