The world is watching. Various agencies and groups have travelled a long way before reaching the final hour, if not the finish line. Tomorrow is election day, automated elections to be certain, and we will be the first to use this method in Southeast Asia.
Filipinos hunger for change and this brought us to move and take an action to alter the course of our history. The long-fought era of massive cheating and fraud would now be relinquished by the hands of our countrymen.
Tomorrow is a milestone. We will be tested – our faith, our resilience, our power to choose only ‘the best’ and the most worthy to take us to our desired destination. The responsibility still lies in our hands, and whatever the consequences, we must stand to carry them.
United, we will make a choice. A choice to lead us to the outskirts or a choice to bring us pride.
I was happy to see the optimism of the articles from the Philippine Star in its edition today. Few days ago, there seemed to be no hope. Failed machines, defective compact flash cards, and unprepared people. Now, we have proven that indeed we are Filipinos — people who love adventure.
Few hours before May 10, we shifted — from the mood of fear and discontent, to excitement and anticipation.
In the Philippine Star’s Starweek Magazine, there was an article on “10 Commandments to Avoid Fraud in Your Precinct” that people should take a careful note of. It was aligned by ABS-CBN’s Boto Mo I-Patrol Mo movement and Kontra Daya, an organization committed against election fraud.
Behold, the ten commandments:
1. Look for your assigned precinct and your name on the voters’ list early.
2. Make sure the ballot is clean and free of marks before accepting it from the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI). Do not accept ballots with marks or dirt because the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines may be unable to read them. Spoiled ballots will not be replaced.
3. The BEI should scan ballots so voters can see their ultraviolet (UV) marks. This would prove that the voters were given original ballots. Do not accept ballots without UV marks.
4. Make sure the PCOS machine reads your ballot. If the machine rejects the ballot, you have four tries to insert it again in different orientations.
Voters are allowed to fix ambiguous marks or the improper shading of ovals. The BEI should also explain why the ballot was rejected. It might not be the voter’s fault and the PCOS machine might be broken.
If a machine has rejected several valid ballots, it has to be replaced.
5. Do not over-vote, otherwise the PCOS machine will not read the votes for that position. Make sure you fully shade the ovals, or the machine might reject your ballot for having “ambiguous marks.” You will not be given another ballot if you make a mistake while voting.
Meanwhile, the use of ballots to sabotage the PCOS machines is strictly prohibited.
6. If a precinct runs out of ballots, a voter can still cast his vote in the next nearest precinct. The BEI should accompany the voter after giving the latter a certification.
7. Only the BEI can hand out ballots. Not even local officials, Commission on Elections (Comelec) personnel and Smartmatic technicians can interfere. Also, no one should tinker with the PCOS machines during voting time.
8. Voters should make sure they sign the voters’ list at the start, and have their fingernail marked with indelible ink at the end. This is one safeguard against flying voters.
9. The allotted voting time is from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Voters who are within 30 meters from the precinct or are still in line after 6 p.m. can still vote. They should have their names listed down by the BEI. Voting should continue until everyone within 30 meters of the precinct or in line has voted.
10. Armed police, military, paramilitary forces, security guards, barangay officials, armed goons and supporters of politicians who are campaigning are barred from the polling precinct. The BEI should send them out.
I am not yet a voter but I am aware that as a Filipino, I am part of this milestone, each of us is.
No matter which god you believe in, let us all keep praying that the elections would be clean and just. As broadcast journalist Kara David said, “Magbantay, Manindigan, Magdasal.”
Remember, we are Filipinos.