MANILA, Philippines—At least 50,000 information technology personnel are needed for next year’s automated national elections, a Commission on Elections official said Wednesday.
Election Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said in a news briefing that Smartmatic TIM Corp., the automated elections contractor, was hiring about 40,000 IT workers to help in the country’s biggest IT project.
The Smartmatic TIM personnel will do mainly technical support work. They will help in the maintenance and operations of the ballot scanners, officially called Precinct Count Optical Scan machines, on May 10.
Some will be deployed to the field, while some will work in the company’s call center to respond to technical questions.
At the same time, the Comelec and the Department of Science and Technology are currently training a total of 500 IT experts to train and accredit the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI), Larrazabal said.
The Comelec will use 82,000 scanners in next year’s elections.
To ensure that the operations will be smooth on election day, the poll body has ordered that at least one member of the BEI should have IT knowledge and training on how to handle the scanners.
The poll body has coordinated with the local IT industry for its personnel requirements, he said.
The Comelec said it will field 100 IT-knowledgeable organic personnel to various municipalities and cities to supervise the poll proceedings.
Volunteers from the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, the Comelec’s citizens’ arm, will also train for the project.
All the IT workers will be accredited by the DOST.
Bonifacio Belen, Smartmatic TIM manager, said the company last week held a workshop to develop methods on hiring and training of personnel. The company will start training the employees in January next year.
He said the company was optimistic there would be enough workers for the project.
“There is no shortage of patriotic and IT-savvy Filipinos who want to be part of history,” he said.
Smartmatic TIM has tapped manpower firms Placewell, Manred, and Ventureslink to hire the support personnel. Applicants are advised to send their resumes to the said agencies.
Meanwhile, Larrazabal said the Comelec has directed the election contractor to ensure that its workers do not have partisan streaks.
Applicants for key positions will undergo background checks, Larrazabal said.
Under the Comelec’s rules, only BEI members can handle the election and voting machines. Smartmatic TIM employees will only advise the BEI members should the machines malfunction.
Larrazabal said the Smartmatic TIM will carefully screen applicants and make them sign an affidavit stating that they do not have political connections.
The employees will not be assigned to areas where they are from, he added.