JULY 31, 2017
Comelec Advisory Council  holds AES Technology Fair
Individuals representing member-organizations of the Comelec Advisory Council, with Comelec chairperson Andres Bautista (fourth from left) and Comelec commissioner Luie Guia (rightmost)
The Automated Election System (AES) Tech Fair was held on July 26, 2017 at Novotel Manila in Quezon City. The Fair, organized by the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) through the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), showcased some of the latest election technology available in the market, including locally developed AES technologies.

The tech fair featured booths as well as formal presentations from Filipino organizations as well as multinational companies: Laxton Group Limited from Guangzhou, China; Automated Election System with Enhanced Transparency and Accuracy (AES/ETA) from  TransparentElections.org.ph; Smartmatic International Corp. from Venezuela; TAPAT Election System from Avant-Garde Informations and Communications Technology (A-GICT); Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Data Center, Inc.; IP Converge Data Sevices, Inc. (IPC); and Arronet Solutions Integrator.

Republic Act No. 9369 (the Philippine Election Automation Law of 2007) mandates the CAC to recommend the most appropriate, secure, applicable and cost-effective technology to be applied in the AES. The event was a venue for the CAC to explore prevailing technologies. 

The CAC is composed of the DICT; the Department of Education (DepEd); the Department of Science and Technology (DOST); and members from the academe, information and communications technology organizations, and non-governmental election monitoring organizations. NAMFREL is a member of the CAC.

See photos from DICT here: https://www.facebook.com/DICTgovph/posts/1435025023259286

See photos from NAMFREL here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Namfrel/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155089902088173

Watch the recorded livestream:
Part 1 - https://www.facebook.com/DICTgovph/videos/1432809160147539/
Part 2 - https://www.facebook.com/DICTgovph/videos/1432986763463112/
NYC gathers youth leaders for pilot testing of youth council mandatory training modules
NAMFREL participated in the Pilot Testing of the Sangguninang Kabataan (SK) (youth council) Mandatory Training Modules for NCR on July 25, 2017 at Cocoon Boutique Hotel in Quezon City. The National Youth Commission (NYC) facilitated and initiated the event with the assistance of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), and University of the Philippines - National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG). 

The pilot testing aimed to enhance the SK Operations Manual, to gather insights from delegates of various youth organizations, and to provide an overview of the important components of the mandatory training modules for incoming SK officials.  Recommendations from the delegates will be used by the NYC to enhance the training modules prior to printing of reference materials.

Participants to the pilot testing were selected by NYC from youth subsectors, namely: In School Youth (ISY), Out of School Youth (OSY), Working Youth and Youth with Special Needs. The delegates are expected to be effective facilitators for upcoming trainings.

Mandatory training is one of the key features of the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015 or R.A. 10742, for the purpose of emphasizing the role of the youth in nation-building and molding them to become better citizens with the values of patriotism, nationalism and honor as a Filipino. It is mandated that future SK officials must undergo the mandatory training programs before he or she can assume office to prepare them for their future duties and responsibilities. (Sec.30, IRR of R.A. 10742)

The training module focused on 1) Decentralization and Local Governance; 2) SK History and Salient Features; 3) Meetings and Resolution Making; 4) Planning and Budgeting; and 5) Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards.

NYC simultaneously presented the training modules in cities and provinces in Batangas, Bulacan, Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete, General Santos, Laoag, Tacloban, Lapu-lapu, Tacloban, Surigao del Norte and the National Capital Region.

According to NYC, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) is a useful channel for the development of future leaders, among youth leaders who can carry the country forward, and this training is only a first step.
Comelec reviewing 6 tech options for 2019 elections
(Rappler, July 26, 2017)

On Wednesday, July 26, Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said the poll body, in a workshop with the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC), is currently considering 6 options on what automated election system (AES) solution to implement in 2019 and in succeeding polls: refurbishment of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines used in 2013;  exercise of the option to purchase the vote-counting machines (VCM) leased for the 2016 polls; combination of refurbished PCOS and purchased VCMs; lease of new optical mark reader (OMR) machines;  use of other systems besides an OMR; or any combination of the above. 

Comelec in 'wait and see' mode on fate of barangay, SK polls
(PNA, July 27, 2017)

MANILA, July 27 -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is hoping that the Senate and President Rodrigo Duterte would give their definite answers on the fate of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls.

Bautista said they will just continue with their preparations for the scheduled electoral exercises, assuring that they will not spend as much as possible. "We can just continue with our preparations, such as conducting biddings but withholding the awarding of the contract. We can also start printing the ballots but we don't want it to go to waste if the elections will eventually be postponed," he added.

Local execs waited for Duterte to announce status of brgy, SK polls
(Sunstar Cebu, July 25, 2017)

A LOCAL elected official and a poll official said that they were hoping for President Rodrigo Duterte to include in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) last Monday whether the barangay and youth elections will push through this year or not. 

Duterte, however, did not mention anything about the elections. 

In a text message, Cebu Provincial Board (PB) Member Celestino Martinez III said he had hoped that Duterte would update the nation about the status of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan election, which is supposed to be held in October this year.

Tax reform, BBL, bgay polls deferment top Congress leaders’ priority list of 35 measures
(Interaksyon, July 26, 2017)

MANILA – The Senate and the House of Representatives have identified 35 bills they would give priority to in the second regular session of the 17th Congress, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said.

The measures include the comprehensive tax reform bill, proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, the bill ending contractualization, national identification system, and the postponement of the barangay elections scheduled in October this year.

Emerging from the meeting of Congress leaders Wednesday, Fariñas said they plan to sit down with the President in the LEDAC (Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council) to harmonize the priorities of the chambers with that of the Executive.

Marcos poll protest stumps
high court

(PDI, July 28, 2017)

The possibility that the protest filed by former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. over the slim margin of victory by Vice President Leni Robredo could put into question the result of the entire election process last year has worried some Supreme Court justices.

The concern emerged during the preliminary conference of the court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), on July 11, according to a transcript of the proceedings made available to the Inquirer.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno expressed apprehension about the absence of “a template for addressing the kind of protest” the namesake son of the "dictator" Ferdinand Marcos had lodged.

House welcomes 2 new members
(Manila Bulletin, July 24, 2017)

Two nominees of the Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens were added to the rolls of members of the House of Representatives after taking their oath of office yesterday.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez administered the oath of office of Reps. Francisco Datol Jr. and Milagros Aquino-Magsaysay, who represent the senior citizen group that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) proclaimed as among the winning party-list organizations in the 2016 national elections.

Datol and Magsaysay belong to feuding factions of the senior citizens party-list group that filed separate protests during the 2013 elections.

Poll body stays despite shift to federal form of government
(UNTV, July 28, 2017)

“The Comelec cannot be abolished because there is a need for an agency that would supervise the election. The question would be if the Comelec will continue to be a national organization or will it be a state organization.”

This was the explanation of Comelec chairman Andres Bautista when asked about what will happen to the poll body if the proposed shift of government from democracy to federalism pushes through.

In the proposal of former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., there will be 11 federal states when the country shifts to federalism – 4 states in Luzon, another four in Visayas, and 3 in Mindanao.

PH, 27 other countries use 'cyber troops' to manipulate opinion – study
(Rappler, July 25, 2017)

MANILA, Philippines – A University of Oxford study detailed how governments around the world are deploying "cyber troops" to manipulate public opinion.

The study, titled "Troops, Trolls and Troublemakers: A Global Inventory of Organized Social Media Manipulation," identified 28 countries where there is enough evidence of cyber troop use and deployment, among them, the Philippines.

The study defines "cyber troops" as "government, military or political party teams committed to manipulating public opinion over social media."

Ram Nath Kovind: Member of India's lowest caste elected president
(The Independent, July 20, 2017)

A member of India’s ‘untouchable’ caste has been chosen as the country's new president.

Ram Nath Kovind, a politician backed by the ruling Hindu nationalist-led coalition, easily won India's presidential election on Thursday, tightening the government's hold on positions of power.

India's constitution provides a largely ceremonial role for the president, with the prime minister and his cabinet holding executive power.

After Timor-Leste's Election, a Young Democracy Looks Forward
(The Diplomat, July 25, 2017)

On July 22, 77 percent of Timorese cast their votes in the Timor-Leste’s parliamentary election, which was contested by almost two dozen political parties in a country of just about 1.2 million people. This election witnessed the expected victory of the two major political parties, the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin) and the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT). The final count of ballots showed that Fretilin led with almost 30 percent of the vote, securing 23 seats, while the CNRT, led by Xanana Gusmão, was running second with a slightly lower percentage of the vote and 22 seats.

India: EVM malfunctioned during local polls in Maharashtra’s Buldhana
(Hindustan Times, July 23, 2017)

An electronic voting machine (EVM) malfunctioned during local polls in Buldhana, the election machinery has admitted.

When voters pressed the button next to the name of an independent candidate, the light next to the BJP candidate was activated. However, there is no evidence that this malfunction actually gave the BJP extra votes or affected the result.

It did, however, raise doubts about the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) assertion that the EVMs were tamperproof. The EC had even issued an open challenge last month to hack EVMs.

US: It took DEF CON hackers minutes to pwn these US voting machines
(The Register, July 29, 2017)

After the debacle of the 2000 presidential election count, the US invested heavily in electronic voting systems – but not, it seems, the security to protect them.

This year at the DEF CON hacking conference in Las Vegas, 30 computer-powered ballot boxes used in American elections were set up in a simulated national White House race – and hackers got to work physically breaking the gear open to find out what was hidden inside.

In less than 90 minutes, the first cracks in the systems' defenses started appearing, revealing an embarrassing low level of security. Then one was hacked wirelessly.

NAMFREL NEWS is a bi-monthly electronic newsletter published by the
National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), Philippines.
National Citizens' Movement For Free Elections (NAMFREL)
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