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Proposals for partial automation of 2007 polls pushed

SENATOR Richard Gordon and House Representative Teodoro Locsin have filed separate bills that propose to have partial automation of the 2007 elections, outgoing chairman Virgilio Peña of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) told this week.

The proposed measures aim to modernize elections in 20 percent of precincts in the Philippines, Peña added.

"The proposed measures hope to pilot the automated elections in key cities, provinces and municipalities," he said.

In its website (, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) indicated that it is "eagerly awaiting" the outcome of the plenary discussion on Senate Bill No. 2231 filed by Gordon, chair of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments.

Commissioner Resurreccion Borra said that the Senate proposal will amend Republic Act 8436 or the election modernization law.

Borra said that the Gordon's proposalis a "product of extensive cooperation between the Comelec and the technical working group created by Gordon, with the input of local information technology experts and headed by the CICT.

The Comelec hopes to amend RA 8436 to enable the poll body to use the most appropriate technology in the coming elections.

Under the existing law, the Comelec is required to use only devices that utilize optical mark reader technology.

"The amended version is more technology-neutral," Borra said.

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva

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