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Palace cites early printing of ballots

Manila, Philippines – Malacañang lauded the printing of 56 million ballots needed for the May elections in record speed, saying this will help ensure an orderly conduct of the automated polls.

“Malugod po nating tinatanggap ang balita ng Comelec hinggil sa pagtatapos ng paglilimbag ng 56.9 milyong balota na naisagawa sa loob lamang ng 49 na araw, 49 days o 18 days ahead of schedule,” Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said over government radio.

Coloma said such printing feat exceeded the Comelec record in 2013 when it took 57 days to print 52 million ballots for the midterm elections. Back in 2010, 50 million ballots were printed in 81 days.

“Malaki ang magiging ambag ng pagkumpleto sa pag-imprenta ng balota sa pagsisiguro nang maayos at nasa takdang oras na pagsasagawa ng pambansang halalan,” the Palace official added.

The Comelec earlier announced that of the 56,772,230 ballots, 54.3 million will be official ballots while the rest will be used for demonstration and final testing. The swift printing has been attributed to the shorter size of the ballot, compared to the 2010 and 2013 format.

As of Friday, 77.3 percent of the ballots have been verified. All ballots are expected to be verified by April 25.

Coloma said the National Printing Office printed 56.9 million ballots for the 2016 polls, or eight percent higher from the 52.3 million printed in the 2013 elections.

“Masasabi natin katulad ng ipinahayag ng Comelec na ang pagwawakas ng paglilimbag ng balota ay pagpapatunay sa mabungang pag-uugnayan ng Comelec at National Printing Office. Ang National Printing Office o NPO ay nasa ilalim ng ating tanggapan – ang Presidential Communications Operations Office,” Coloma said.

Meantime, the Palace encouraged Filipino voters abroad to take part absentee voting period, which started last April 9 and will end on May 9.

Coloma noted that the launch of the one-month voting process for 1.38 million overseas Filipinos has been so far successful.

“Nakikiisa po tayo sa Comelec sa kanilang hangarin na mas maraming bilang ng ating mga kababayan sa ibang bansa ang lumahok sa halalan at itaguyod ang kanilang karapatang bumoto,” he said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)

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