Feb 072013

Some 1.1 million ballots for the May 13 automated elections have been printed by the National Printing Office (NPO) three days after it started its work, Commission Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Thursday.

But Brillantes was quick to admit that the printing was not as fast as expected.

“Ngayon mga one million one na siguro (1.1 million ang napi-print), which is mahina yun, mahina yun,” he told reporters.

The NPO earlier said that it can print 650,000 ballots per day during the first week and 1 million per day on the second and following weeks.

A total of 52,014,648 ballots, which is equivalent to one ballot per voter, should be printed for the May elections.

The printing started before midnight of February 4 and is expected to be finished 81 days after or on April 25. The NPO and Comelec earlier expressed confidence the printing of the ballots can be done in 65 days. 

Printing stopped

Brillantes said he received report that the printing was stopped earlier Thursday.

NPO assistant director Raul Nagrampa said they paused the printing to allow the loading of the images of ballots for other provinces and to conduct maintenance work.

The NPO has completed the printing of ballots for South and North Cotabato.

“Nag-pause lang. They loaded files to shift from Cotabato province to Region 4B, Sulu, and Region 2. Also did maintenance na rin. Resuming na (ang printing),” Nagrampa said in a text message to GMA News Online.

He added that of the ballots printed, only six were rejected.

“Six pieces have been rejected so far. Some are torn, miscut and have curls. These are all for replacements,” Nagrampa said.

Rejected ballots will be inventoried first and then shredded to ensure that they will not be used.

The machines (Canon color stream printers and Hunkeler System AG) are working 18 hours for the actual printing. For the setting up and maintenance testing, it will be six hours.

The NPO has 42 staff to man the machines in three shifts.

The machines and paper, imported from the Netherlands, cost P780 million.

The NPO is also housing 156 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines that will validate the ballots before packaging and distribution. — Amita Legaspi/RSJ/KBK, GMA News

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