Thursday, January 21, 2016

Comelec: PCOS to have 
more ‘security features’

TAGBILARAN CITY, January 20 (PIA)— The votes counting machine (VCMs) which would be used this May 9 elections would have more security features.

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) through Atty Eliseo Labaria, Bohol election supervisor bared this at the recent Kapihan sa PIA in Bohol. 

He said the VCMs or more officially called the Precinct Count Optical Scanner (PCOS) which would be used could be newer and with more security features.

The PCOS has been by law, imbedded with four security features to assure voters that their votes are exactly the same in the data sent out to election servers at the COMELEC central servers, as mandated by Republic Act (RA) 939 or the Automated Elections Law.

Over this, he said the COMELEC is set to put up roadshows on the PCOS, to get people into a better understanding of its operations. 

These roadshows may also be the poll body’s venue to consult election stakeholders on the pros and cons of the safety features of the counting machines and its potential reactivation. 

We will explain [all of] that once we showcase the machine,” COMELEC said.

Filipinos are not new to PCOS machines, but while these were used in the 2010 and 2013 polls, the COMELEC reportedly deactivated some of the security features. 

These security features include the ballot verification using ultra violet detectors, a source code review by an independent audit company, the digital signature in the transmittal and the voter verified paper audit trail.

There were also no details of which of these were deactivated, and which ones were active. 

But, reports earlier quoted COMELEC chairman Andres Bautista saying that they might re-activate three of the four security features.

The COMELEC has earlier allowed the opening of the source code by an independent company, last December, all to make sure that the codes act as they have been programmed. 

It may be recalled that in 2013 elections, the source code became a butt of controversy as the code review was done hastily, 6 days before the polls. 

The source code is basically an independent auditor to ensure that the system is running free from possible malicious lines or malware designed to manipulate the results of elections, explains the COMELEC.

As to the digital signature, Bautista was also quoted as saying “they were looking to introduce human signatures.

It would “not just one but three signatures of Board of Election Inspectors (BEI)”, he was quoted even as the Supreme Court has already ruled that a machine signature will do.

In Bohol, Labaria said a training for trainors on the PCOS is slated soon, and the COMELEC is set to call the BEIs for this. 

“We need to get them to know the PCOS better, the Bohol poll supervisor stressed. 

He said a mock election would also happen in test areas, while a simultaneous testing of the PCOS could happen between May 2-6. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

To non-participating lay… 
Delay Cebu businesses during 
51st IEC, traffic jams expected 

TAGBILARAN CITY, January 20 (PIA) — Boholanos who have businesses to do in Cebu starting from January 24 to 30 should better think again, a huge international gathering there would cause massive road-blocks and traffic snags potentially stalling business operations. 

Bohol Department of Interior and Local Government provincial director issued this warning during a recent coordination meeting held at the DILG January 20. 

Maria Louisella Lucino said the upcoming International Eucharistic Congress which would happen in many venues in Cebu will cause an expected over a million people to converge on sites, temporarily blocking key road sections and making businesses stand still. 

The IEC, the 51st this year and the second in the Philippines since 1935 which only had about 60,000 attendees, would officially start with an opening mass at the Plaza Independencia on Sunday. 

By that time, Cebu City Traffic Management Office will close to vehicular traffic MJ Cuenco Avenue and Osmena Boulevard, while trucks, vans and trailers would be denied passage through the SRP underpass / South Coastal Road starting at 2:00 PM until the end of the IEC event at the Plaza Independencia. 

From January 25 through the 29th, traffic officers would be denying access to Pope John Paul II (Juan Luna Ave.) for all types of vehicles from 5:00 AM to 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM. This would be from TESDA near the flyover to Cardinal Rosales Ave. 

On the other hand, on January 28, the IEC participants would be having Visita Iglesia and this would cause closure in Cebu’s major thoroughfares. 

Visita Iglesia sector 1 would be traversing from Capitol Parish passing along N. Escario St., then right to Gorordo Ave., to Asilo dela Milagrosa Church. From there, they proceed to F. Sotto St., then turn right to Queens Road, then to the Redemptorist Church. Then, the group would traverse along R. Aboitiz St., right turn to Juana Osmeña St., right turn N. Escario St., then back to Capitol Parish Church. 

These road sections would be closed to vehicular traffic. 

For sector 2, the group would start at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, passing along P. Burgos St., to Basilica del Sto. Niño. From there, they proceed to D. Jakosalem St., then turn left to Legaspi St., to Pelaez St., then to Sto. Rosario Parish. Then the group follows P. del Rosario St., turn left to D. Jakosalem St., then to Sacred Heart Church. 

After the Sacred Heart Church, they group traverses back along D. Jakosalem St., straight to Downtown Area, left turn P. Gomez St., right turn to P. Burgos St., then to Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral where the church visit ends. 

On January 29, a Holy Mass to be celebrated at the Capitol would cause the closure of roads leading to Capitol Area, and would extend as far as where the people are gathered. 

After this, a solemn procession happens from the Capitol Building mass to Plaza Independencia. 

This would certainly affect the banning of vehicular traffic along Osmena Blvd. PUJ’s along this route would be rerouted and private vehicles would be advised to take alternate access in going to their destinations. 

Bohol public safety police chief Nicomedes Olaivar however, who has been in coordination meetings with Cebu said traffic advisories (in tarp) would be installed on areas visible to the motorists, while information and Traffic advisories shall also be flashed and displayed in selected LED billboards within the city. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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