Friday, February 28, 2014

Automation 2013: Success or still an epic fail?

Amidst current reports on the altering of the election process from the use of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine last year to a much modern method by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), it made me think if the shift is timely and much cost- effective or is it better to stay and just improve on what we have now?
“It’s normal.” That was what SMARTMATIC, country’s supplier of PCOS machine, replied toward inquisitions brought by widespread glitches caused by the machine last May 13, 2013 midterm elections. It is considerably a déjà vu for most Filipinos to experience automation again and for the second time around was it perfect unlike before or still an epic failing?
Missing names in the voter’s list, PCOS breakdowns, switching of ballots, vote-buying, Board of Election Inspectors(BEI) Scare, widespread sabotage attempts and long queues brought by unexpected disruptions augmented by hot rays of summer causing grouches and disenfranchisement by few to exercise their right to suffrage.
It seems like everyone prodded automation, being one of the 10- point agenda of the former administration and paid by taxpayers by an amount of P 1.8 billion, as the main reason for our own difficulty in conducting this important ritual of democracy. “This must be the last time we will use that machine!” exclaimed by a private election watchdog.
But despite all of those hassles, COMELEC proudly says that the election last year was smooth. The Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP described it as “generally peaceful”, SmartMatic says “its normal”, and even PNoy express his own appreciation for his wonderful election experience. The National Government thinks optimistic with this advancement and we could seemingly notice in their eyes, it was and is really better than before.
Development and change, these are what our leaders dream for having an automated election. Though it requires effort, money, and dedication, the commission pushes it through for they believe that this is what the country need and of what time requires. A change that will stretch us out of our limitations, will ring us out of the traditional and moreover, will reward us the success we could never get from the manual method.
Dramatical change, this is what we really experiences. A change that requires a process in a span of time, a process we can never obtain in just a blink. What SmartMatic had said is true, “It’s normal”. Having glitches are part of that change. If I’m going to decide whether to alter it or not, I bet to stick with what we have now and just improve it.

Failures are part of this walk, stepping stones toward perfection. I believe that we are on our way towards it.

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