THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said it will replace existing equipment with newer technology as part of electoral reforms discussed during the first National Election Summit last week.
“This is the first election summit in our country’s history, and we saw the new technologies that we can use in the subsequent elections,” Comelec spokesperson John Rex C. Laudiangco told a televised briefing in mixed Filipino and English.
“We had many of our stakeholders demonstrate new equipment that could potentially be used in our next elections.”
He said the Comelec en banc was set to discuss on Monday the recommendations made during the summit.
The vote-counting machines used during the May 2022 national and local elections were first used in the 2010 elections.
During the summit, held from March 8 to 10, Comelec Chairperson George Erwin M. Garcia said the election body is eyeing the integration of biometrics technology for the 2025 elections.
“Hopefully in 2023, the Comelec will be allowed to use new machines and technology based on the recommendation of the summit, strategic planning,” he said, according to a copy of his speech sent to reporters.
The event was attended by government officials, civil society organizations, election watchdogs, and other stakeholders.
Mr. Garcia said Comelec plans on discarding 98,000 vote-counting machines to make way for newer equipment.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. earlier told Comelec to push to modernize the election process through innovations in technology.
“Now that we use modern technologies to advance and make our election system more reliable, I am sure that we can implement positive reforms and make election result transmission faster and maintain its accuracy,” Mr. Marcos said in his speech during the summit.
Last year, the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines urged Comelec to review the automated elections system and implement measures that would discourage members of political dynasties from being elected.
Election watchdog Kontra Daya, which means “against fraud” in Filipino, has called for similar reforms in the election system due to the technical blunders that occurred in last year’s national and local elections. — John Victor D. Ordonez