THE Commission on Elections on Wednesday defended its plan to hold the National Canvassing center at The Manila Hotel, saying it would be cheaper than renting the government-owned Philippine International Convention Center.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez made the statement after critics said moving the national canvassing center from the PICC to the Manila Hotel would be expensive.
“From what I know, the cost of getting the Manila Hotel Tent might actually be lower than renting the PICC,” Jimenez said.
He made his statement even as Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista appealed to the public to help enfranchise more voters in this year’s elections by supporting voter education-information activities and platforms.
“We are currently putting up posters that discuss steps in voting and some reminders in preparation for Election Day,” Bautista said.
“We want voters to come to the Voting Centers informed because we are really intent on making the voting process convenient for everyone, especially for those with limited mobility.”
Jimenez had advised the Comelec’s critics to research first before making unfair statements against the agency.
He said the Comelec plans to establish the national canvassing center not at the main hotel but at the tent outside where the media center covering the visit of Pope Francis in January 2015 was held.
“It’s just that The Manila Hotel owns the tent. It’s not actually going to be done in the hotel itself. Again, this is just a proposal and there is nothing final up to this moment,” Jimenez said.
Over the weekend, reports came out that Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista was looking at the possibility of transferring the national canvassing center from the PICC, where it had been held in previous elections, to the Manila Hotel.
The proposal was again criticized.
But Jimenez said the possibility of moving the national canvassing center was not entirely new as it had also been considered in the 2013 elections, when the SMX Convention Center was proposed as a possible venue. Sara Susanne D. Fabunan
“This is actually considered as routine work of the Comelec once we are already at this stage of preparing for the elections,” Jimenez said.
“In 2013 there were a lot of discussions but they did not prosper. In the end, we settled for the PICC Tent,” he said. Sara Susanne D. Fabunan