The poll watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting said Wednesday it will deploy 300,000 volunteers to monitor, encode and validate the votes in the May 13 midterm elections.
“We are prepared to mobilize our volunteers come the May 13 midterm and deploy them to the more than 87,000 precincts, 81 provinces and 37,000 municipalities,” PPCRV chairman Myla Villanueva said during the group’s launching of its command center at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in United Nations Avenue in Manila.
In other developments:
• Manila Electric Co. said Wednesday it is ready for the midterm elections and assured the public that all possible power supply issues are being addressed.
“Barring any unforeseen, unexpected, unscheduled shutdowns, we do not see any problems,” Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga told reporters.
• The Metro Manila Development Authority said it is suspending the number coding scheme for provincial buses on May 10 and on Tuesday next week in connection with the May 13 midterm polls.
“The Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program suspension is to ensure that there will be enough public utility vehicles to ferry commuters who are going to vote in the provinces,” the MMDA said in advisory Wednesday.
• Amid the reports of alleged vote-buying in various parts of the country as the May 13 midterm elections draw near, Senator Richard Gordon warned voters not to let candidates who are buying votes not to rob them of their future.
Gordon issued the advice after the Commission on Elections cited the rising incidents of vote buying as candidates woo voters in the final stretch of the campaign.
“Don’t be fooled by candidates. And most especially, do not sell your votes,” Gordon said.
Although the 300,000 volunteers is less than half the number of volunteers in the 2016 national elections, Villanueva said 300,000 was enough.
The church-based election watchdog has been acting as one of the Commission on Elections’ arm in monitoring the elections. It usually assigns volunteers to check on the polling places, especially in the areas identified as election hotspots.
During elections, the PPCRV taps Comelec’s transparency server to gather available data on the election results that are transmitted from the vote-counting machines for the parallel vote counting.
In 2010, the group deployed at least half a million volunteers nationwide and the number reached almost 700,000 in 2016.
The PPRCV has managed to mobilize around 300,000 volunteers for this year’s elections.
The volunteers will conduct field reports on election day and send a fourth copy of the election returns that will then be encoded and validated by another group of volunteers stationed at the command center.
The Pope Pius XII Catholic Center will house several rows of desktop computers and three large screens and will be open for 24 hours in the first few days after the elections, according to PPCRV Executive Director Maribel Buenaobra.
Meanwhile, the Comelec is conducting the final testing and sealing of the vote-counting machines that will be used in the coming elections.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the elections will push through as planned and are expected to be generally peaceful. With Joel E. Zurbano and Macon Ramos-Araneta