By Patricia Ongsiako
As the start of ballot printing nears, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday unveiled the newly renovated 5,000-square meter National Printing Office (NPO).
NPO Director Emmanuel Andaya said three printers will be operate 18 hours a day, including weekends and holidays, to print over 52 million ballots for the May midterm polls.
The NPO has also prepared kits with spare parts of the machines, in case problems, like overheating, crop up.
Each printer is leased for about P190 million and will be manned by seven NPO personnel who have undergone extensive training by Singaporean and German engineers.
NPO aims to print at least 650,000 ballots per day within the first week of printing and about a million ballots per day by the second week.
Meanwhile, NPO Assistant Director Raul Nagrampa said security in the building has been tightened, with every corner covered by CCTV cameras and with NPO security personnel posted inside and outside 24 hours a day.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) will also help in securing the area by deploying cops and K9 units.
Nagrampa said he was confident that all 52 million ballots will be printed in just 65 days.
They will then be brought to a separate room in the NPO vicinity where about 500 Comelec personnel will use 156 Precinct Count Optical Scan machines to test 800,000 ballots a day.
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Pia Hontiveros, Chief Correspondent and anchor of Solar Network News and News.Ph, presents the Solar News and Current Affairs year-ender special: On the Cusp of Change. A deafening silence, not out of a loss for words but a grief that cannot be spoken, for thousands lost to a super typhoon ... A muted pain from a powerful tremor that violently shook the heart of the nation ... An unspeakable anger over pork barrel that fueled a political maelstrom ... These and other stories from the extraordinary challenging year that was.