Archive for the ‘COMELEC’ Category


Do not disappoint

In 2010,Automation,COMELEC on 29 August 09 by jimenez

I was at a radio station today, fielding questions about automation, and I noticed something very interesting. Most of the callers and texters wanted to know how the process works. They were very eager to understand how automation promises to change the voting experience. In marked contrast, the questions coming from the hosts were focused almost exclusively on what could go wrong.

It was, needless to say, a schizophrenic experience.

But an important lesson too. The people, it seems, are truly ready for this change and the fear that some quarters claim is widespread, is nothing of the sort.

Unfortunately, those who are supposed to be in a better position to intelligently handle their apprehensions – which are, after all, a normal aspect of any major change – seem to be the ones proving to be quite unable to. They latch on to the vague and half-explained scenarios of doom as though they were repeating gospel truth; they scare themselves sleepless worrying about concepts they do not even completely grasp simply because this expert or that PhD., seemed to be worried even more and, well, God-forbid that we be considered bumpkins because we didn’t fear the same things these sophisticates are all a-tremble over.

And so, you have lawyers and businessmen, judges and academics, all spouting the same half-truths and misrepresentations being peddled by those who would see the country yet again prevented from discarding a flawed electoral system.

They often preface their attacks with “I’m in favor of automation, what assurance can you offer that  ….” insert doomsday scenario here. The funny thing is, when provided with explanations and assurances they cannot poke holes in, they end up waving it off and resorting to their ultimate fall-back – “we can’t trust the COMELEC.”

Even funnier, some take issue with the fact that explanations are forthcoming. Those people leave me scratching my head. I’m like, so you would prefer it if we didn’t have an answer to your concerns? But then again those are the people who convince me that theirs is not to really improve the plan through principled and constructive criticism, but rather to tear it down by endlessly repeating their shibboleths until ordinary people can no longer distinguish between what they’re saying and what the truth is.

Sadly, these people who can no longer distinguish between what is for real and what are scare-tactics include critical decision makers and influencers and shapers of opinion. These people who, because of what they represent in society, are supposed to be able to think more clearly and to see better when the need for audacity outweighs timorous quivering. Instead, they seems to be all rushing to the forefront of the retreat from the future.

Thankfully, they seem to be doing all the retreating all by themselves. Out in the streets, in the schools, in the business establishments, in the various forums, people are excited about automation. They want to see it happen. They are eager for this next step. The challenge for the COMELEC therefore, is very simple.

Do not disappoint.



Tempus Fugit

In 2010,Automation,COMELEC on 5 January 09 by jimenez Tagged: , , , ,

The supplemental budget for automation was submitted to the Department of Budget and Management even before Congress went on recess for the holidays. Unfortunately, the DBM hasn’t forwarded that budget to Congress. This obviously impacts automation timetables and nothing will be quite as screwed as voter ed.



2009 coming up

In 2010,Automation,COMELEC,Journal on 31 December 08 by jimenez Tagged: , , , ,

It’s almost here: the year before what might turn out to be the most important elections in recent memory. Just thinking about all the things that need to be done gives me hives.

The overarching need, of course, is to get started on the procurement of the automated election system.

About that – there seems to be a growing consensus that we should just lease the machines. That sounds good. After all, with a lease, there’ll be no worries about storage and maintenance. But will simply leasing the machines also mean that we will end up having to reinvent the wheel for every other election?

Take 2010 for instance. We leased the machines that we used in the 2008 ARMM polls. Now, we have to formulate a whole new Request for Proposal for 2010. If we purchased the machines in 2008, then we could already be working on getting the 2010 elections online, couldn’t we (at least for those areas that we can cover with the number of machines we have)?

Instead, everything is hanging on so many variables: will we get the money? will we get it on time? will we have enough time to adequately customize the machines? will we have time to satisfactorily work out the kinks?

Most everything else that needs to be done in 2009 really just spins-off from automation: generating public acceptance for the system, making sure voters know how to use the tech, that sort of thing. But that’s still a whole lot o’work.

Well at least there’s still some time left to take a deep breath. Too bad the air already reeks of gunpowder.