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Comelec chair Melo: ‘Stakes high’ in ARMM elections

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 13:52:00 05/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The “stakes are high” in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections in August, which will serve as the dry-run for automated polls in 2010, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Jose Melo said as he gave assurances that the poll body would not let the nation down.

Speaking at a command conference with the military and police leadership in Camp Aguinaldo, Melo said automated elections “makes voting and counting easier, faster, and more fraud resistant.”

Melo said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) were part of a “virtuous circle” that would ensure that the technological component of the automated elections “operates the way it is supposed to.”

“The stakes are high, gentlemen. But the rewards are great. And the people — our countrymen — are watching,” Melo said.

“The rest is up to us. And just as I am sure that our brothers in the AFP and the PNP will not let our virtuous circle down. I am confident in giving my guarantee that we in the Comelec will not let you — or the Filipino people — down,” he said.

Melo said the ARMM elections was essential not only for bringing stability to the region, but also in serving as a dry-run for the automation of the 2010 elections

“The automated ARMM elections will be the prelude to the automation of the much larger 2010 national and local elections,” he said.

Melo said automation was not about modern technology alone but would also depend on people to ensure make it works. He called this the “virtuous circle.”

“And in this virtuous circle, the AFP provides the umbrella of protection — to ensure that the exercise is able to proceed in a secure environment,” he said. “The PNP maintains order within that environment — to ensure that the exercise is free of unnecessary disruptions.”

The roles of the military and the police during the elections are “indispensable” to ensuring honest, orderly, and peaceful elections, he said.

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-05-28T06:44:38+00:00UTC05bUTCWed, 28 May 2008 06:44:38 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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