By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Citing data from its own monitoring, the Department of Education said that there were a total of 1,333 “notes” or reports of malfunctioning vote counting machines (VCMs) during the conduct of the 2019 midterm polls.
In a recent briefing on the conduct of the 2019 midterm polls, DepEd Undersecretary for Administration and Election Task Force (ETF) Monitoring Chairperson Alain Del Pascua, the task force received over a thousand reports on VCM malfunctions even the department did not really ask for it.
For the 2019 midterm elections, DepEd used for the first time a mobile monitoring app where the teachers as Electoral Board and other DepEd personnel could send in an election-related issue or concern.
DepEd has launched the Election Monitoring App to “enhance responsiveness in sending status reports, in consolidating and processing these reports, and in addressing reported issues and concerns.”
The app featured sets of comprehensive questions that were answerable by clicking “TRUE” or “FALSE” buttons.
Pascua said that the questions focused more on teachers’ welfare and protection rather than concerns covered by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) such as glitches – among others.
“These are not included in the original question and answer portion but on the notes,” Pascua explained. “One good thing about it is that even if it’s not included [among the] questions in the app, our teachers reported the incidents which is something remarkable,” he added.
He assured that DepEd will validate first these reports before officially forwarding the data to the COMELEC.
Aside from VCM problems, DepEd said that there were 526 problems reported related to the transmission of results; 2,340 reports on marking pen issues, and 2,036 reports lack final testing and sealing.