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Saturday, December 2, 2023

No brownouts on election day, energy officials

There will be no power interruptions on Election Day, but there is no assurance of sufficient supply after May 13, Energy officials told lawmakers Friday amid reports of low electricity supply in the country.

Meanwhile, more than 4,700 people have been arrested since the start of the Commission on Elections’ gun ban on Jan. 13, the Philippine National Police said Friday.

PNP spokesman Bernard Banac said as of 6 a.m. Friday a total of 4,729 people had been arrested in 576,983 police operations since the gun ban’s implementation.

Of that number, 2,634 were intercepted during police patrol responses, 977 through search warrants and 723 during the “Oplan Bakal, Sita, Galugad” operations.

Banac said the total included 331 people arrested in checkpoints and 64 others during the serving of warrants of arrest.

Tte Commission on Elections said Friday it will use 85,000 Vote Counting Machines for the May 13 elections, which would be fewer than the 92,000 VCMs used in the 2016 elections.

Comelec Director Teopisto Elnas Jr., deputy project director of the poll body’s Project Management Office for the May 13 polls, said the number of VCMs for the 2019 midterm elections would be fewer because the number of registered voters in a clustered precinct had been increased from 800 voters to 1,000 per clustered precinct.

“We decided to purchase the VCMs for the May 2019 polls, and the number of registered voters also increased. It is impossible that the number of voters per precinct will be the same. It cannot accommodate with the same allocation,” Elnas said.

He also assured the public that special voting centers would also be available for the indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and senior citizens for the May midterm polls.

“We will have separate and accessible voting centers for IP voters. We will have 33 accessible voting centers spread out in Bulacan, Aurora, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, and South Cotabato,” Elnas said.

Each voting center would have one polling place for PWDs and senior citizens, meaning each school or particular facility used for the conduct of polls across the country will have one station for PWDs and senior citizens, he added.

Officials expect low power consumption on Election Day, which falls on a Monday since it was declared a special non-working holiday.

“We expect sufficient supply. The worry we’re having is the counting day, transmission day,” Energy Assistant Secretary Redentor Delola told members of the Senate Committee on Energy.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said Tuesday parts of Luzon would experience rolling blackouts due to low power reserves.

The peak demand in the Philippines’ largest island is expected at 10,536 MW, and the available capacity is at 10,576 MW, the company said.

Meralco, the largest power distributor, earlier said it was preparing contingency measures in case several poll precincts would be hit by rolling blackouts on May 13. With Vito Barcelo

READ: Meralco users suffer brownouts

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READ: PCC investigates power outages, plant shutdowns

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