Mock elections are set to be conducted across the Philippines by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) this weekend in preparation for the midterm polls in May.
The mock elections will be held in Quezon City, Manila, Pasig, Taguig, Pateros, Valenzuela City, Muntinlupa City, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, Cebu, Bohol, Zamboanga del Norte, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, Sulu, and Basilan on Saturday, January 19, from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m.
According to Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez, the mock elections are required under Republic Act No. 9369, which authorizes Comelec to conduct an automated system.
“The mock election will test and ensure the security features, accuracy, and functional capability of all these elements: the voter registration verification system (VRVS), the VCMs (vote counting machine), transmission devices and the consolidation and the canvassing system,” Jimenez said.
“Isang purpose ng mock elections is to ensure na magkaroon tayo ng opportunity na makita kung ‘yung mga proseso natin ay gumagana ba. Mapa-fine tune natin ‘yung mga procedure na nakabalot naman doon sa sistema. (The purpose of mock elections is to ensure that we will have an opportunity to see if the process works. We will fine-tune the procedures included in the system),” he added.
He also said that a pilot test of the VRVS will be conducted by the poll body during the dry-run. This will be used to verify the identity of voters in three barangays in Pasig City, Manila City, and Quezon City.
Voters can be identified by the VRVS through a scan of their fingerprint or a manual search of their names in the system by typing their names on the keyboard of the VRS.
The VRVS will print a receipt on thermal paper that confirms that the voter is registered in the system. Voters will then be given a ballot by the election board members stationed in the precinct.
The Comelec is planning to use the system in the upcoming polls in selected voting precincts such as Pangasinan, Manila, Quezon City, Cebu, Cavite, Davao del Sur, and Zamboanga del Sur.
The election period began on Saturday, January 13, and will end on June 12. The gun ban, which will last the entire period, was implemented on Saturday, as well. The liquor ban, on the other hand, will be enforced from May 12 to 13.
National and local polls will be conducted on May 13.