Comelec seeks better connectivity for SoCot areas with telecom signal problems

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DAVAO CITY (April 17) — Citing the telecommunication signal as a challenge, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in South Cotabato has taken contingency measures to avoid delays in the transmission of results in the May 13 midterm elections.

In a report published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), it says Dorothy Losa, Election Officer III of Comelec-South Cotabato, revealed they already sought the assistance of the Central Office to provide broadband global area network or BGAN satellite systems for polling centers that do not have stable telecommunication signals.

Having a BGAN systems will facilitate access to communication signals via satellite for the vote counting machines (VCMs) that will be deployed in election precincts, Losa stressed.

The VCMs will mainly use the subscriber identification module or SIM cards of leading telecommunication companies Globe and Smart, she said.

The South Cotabato Police Provincial Office reported that at least 47 far-flung barangays from seven municipalities have problems with telecommunication signals.

These are barangays include Upper Klinan, Palkan, Polo, Kinilis, Lamcaliaf, Landan and Maligo in Polomolok; Miasong, Tubeng and Simbo in Tupi; Buto, Tablu, Danlag, Ambalgan, Palo 19, Liberty and Pula Bato in Tampakan; Derilon, Malaya, Lam-apus, Lambingi and Lampari in Banga; Canahay, Buenavista, Upper Sepaka, Talahik, Lambontong and Lamian in Surallah;

Also included in the lists are Barangays Ned, Upper Maculan and Hanoon in Lake Sebu; and, Afus, Basag, Datal Danlag, Datal Bob, Lambuling, Lamhaku, Lamsalome, Lambangan, New Dumangas, Laconon, Salacafe, Maan, Mongocayo, Tibulok, Talufo and Tudok in Tboli.

“Some of these barangays have weak signals and there are (areas) that don’t have available signals at all,” said Losa emphasized.

Aside from the 47 barangays, she said there are even polling centers in urban areas that have reported “dead spots” for Globe and Smart. The official said the BGAN systems will be prioritized for polling centers that don’t have access to telecommunications.

For the other affected precincts in the remote areas, she said members of the electoral board were advised to transfer to the nearest village or town centers to conduct the transmission of election results.

“In the previous elections, some of them made the transmission at the municipal board of canvassers,” she said.

Losa said they will finalize these measures during the scheduled final sealing and testing (FTS) of the VCMs on May 6 to 10.-NewsLine.ph with PNA report

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