By Stephanie Sevillano

BSKE PREPS. Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairperson George Erwin Garcia (left) welcomes newly-installed Philippine Army Commanding General Lt.Gen. Roy Galido (2nd from left) in a courtesy call on Friday (Aug. 8, 2023). The two leaders, together with other officials, discussed security measures for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) on Oct. 30. (Photo courtesy of Comelec)

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will coordinate with the Philippine Army to beef up security preparations for Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) on Oct. 30. 

In a Viber message, Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said newly installed Philippine Army Commanding General Lt.Gen. Roy Galido on Friday paid a courtesy call to Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia. 

“Chairman Garcia took this occasion as an opportunity, not only to touch base with one of the most hardworking AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) brass, but more so, to jump-start the continuing working coordination between the Comelec and the AFP, in particular, the more than a hundred thousand strong Philippine Army,” he said. 

Included in their discussions were preparations for the upcoming BSKE, he added. 

Laundiangco said it is not new for the Comelec to coordinate with Galido on matters related to nationwide polls. 

“Comelec has worked with Gen. Galido in previous elections, notably the 2022 NLE (National and Local Elections) where he was then Commander, 6ID (Infantry Division), thereafter as Commander, WESMINCOM (West Mindanao Command), and now, CGPA (Commanding General of the Philippine Army),” he said. 

Galido now serves as the 66th Commanding General of the largest arm of the country’s military force. 

Laundiangco said the poll body is set to conduct a command conference this month with law enforcement. 

“The command conference between the Comelec, the AFP, the PNP (Philippine National Police), and the PCG (Philippine Coast Guard) for the 2023 BSKE is scheduled on August 22, 2023,” he said. 

The Comelec is wrapping up preparations for the October polls, which will be manually done in over 42,000 barangays nationwide, except for the three pilot sites for automated elections in Dasmariñas City and Quezon City District 6. 

Last Aug. 8, Comelec launched its mock voting in two barangays in Dasmariñas City, Cavite and Quezon City District 6 where elections would be automated.

Besides automated polls in select areas, Comelec also secured agreements with SM Supermalls and Robinsons Malls for the pilot test of mall voting in 10 malls in Metro Manila, Legazpi City and Cebu City. 

Garcia earlier said the mall voting intends to aid and ease the voting experience of the vulnerable sector, particularly the elderly, persons with disability, and heavily pregnant women, among others. (PNA)