Metro Manila, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has established technical hubs for replacing Secure Digital (SD) cards and vote counting machines (VCMs) that could encounter problems come May 9.

In a resolution promulgated Apr. 20 but only released Friday, Comelec said there will be 82 hubs for the replacement of defective SD cards and eight sites for VCMs nationwide.
Each technical hub will be directly supervised and controlled by the concerned regional election director, provincial election supervisor, or election officer depending on where it’s situated.

The designated poll official must keep an inventory of and safekeep defective cards, while the concerned Comelec field officer must account for the tally of defective machines.

Personnel in charge of replacing SD cards with issues will solely come from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the resolution stated.

For defective VCMs, Comelec field personnel assigned by concerned regional election director will handle their repair.

Candidates, duly registered political parties or coalitions of such, party-list system participants, and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) or other accredited citizens’ arms may appoint two watchers in every hub where they will alternately serve.

Candidates under the same party or coalition are collectively entitled to one watcher at any given time.

Regional election directors which have electoral jurisdiction of technical hubs will handle the approval of applications, except for Calabarzon (Region 4A) applications which must be filed before the capital region’s election director.

Hours prior to the resolution’s dissemination, the Philippine Consulate General in New York temporarily halted ballot feeding after one of two remaining ballots got stuck inside a vote counting machine.

The consulate said the remaining ballots will be fed next Monday, Apr. 25.