Friday, March 8, 2013

Of PCOS and Lent



My interest in biblical numbers’ trivia started in 2010 after we, volunteers of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), attended series of seminars on the PCOS or the Precinct Count Optical Scanner. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) then also initiated such orientation like the one I am telling you here. Since then, numbers became equally important along with candidates’ given names or surnames. Without doubt, elections for us could be a crucifixion or resurrection, depending on its results and outcomes generally perceived by the citizenry.

Lo and behold! To all first time (PCOS) voters, this is a quickie PCOS course for dummies. If you are regular lotto bettor, it’s easy to understand how the machine works. When you try to bet for a lotto draw, you mark numbers on a betting ticket. The operator will then insert your bet ticket to a machine that will read the numbers that you marked. You will also mark numbers using a special pen. Each number corresponds to the candidates running for the post. That’s as simple as that. Hey, you don't need to be a genius to know that PCOS machine will read ballots instead of bet tickets!

PCOS machine then simply transmits data. After the voting, the PCOS technician will send the data from polling places accumulated by the machine to the server. This is the same process as sending a text message from your cellular phone.

“Do not worry,” says Smartmatic then, “PCOS offers several layers of security”. If we are going to believe them, they placed many security measures to ensure the credibility of the elections. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr. even challenged us recently, “Anyone who can hack into the PCOS machines. Maybe we can give them something if they are successful.” Are you confident now with the PCOS?

What recently causes me goose bumps is this : The Automated Election System (AES) Watch, a group of information technology (IT) programmers and security experts and academicians on the subjects of mathematics, business and public management,- gave the Comelec a failing grade of 0.29 with 4 being the highest and 0 being the lowest for the preparations for the elections.

But ultimately, with or without PCOS, if the choice of the people is corrupted, the election will be a mess. No matter how high tech or how secure the equipment we use, it is us voters who will make this election clean and orderly. Let us just include all these things in our prayers this Lenten season.

Pretend we are in a Sunday school and let’s have a little quiz. Here are the questions: How many disciples ran to the tomb? How many angels were at Christ’s resurrection? How many disciples did Jesus walk with on the Emmaus Road after His resurrection? How many men in white apparel testified at Christ’s ascension?

The answer is a magic number as far as I am concerned…

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