Nope, I'm not talking about a dictator who's just been booted out or the end of some civil war. I'm referring to the recently concluded automated elections here, marking the first time in the history of the Philippines that we've used a machine to read and count our votes.
Yes, despite all the hassles and glitches, the heat and the long queues, the country was still able to pull off its first computerized polls. It's extremely liberating in the sense that it took only minutes to vote and just a few hours to reveal, more or less, the results of the elections.
To be honest, the report I filed for ZDNet Asia on Monday painted a rather negative picture of the polls but it reflected the real situation in the early part of the voting period. However, as the elections progressed into the day, it became clear that the automated election was the change that the country desperately needed to fix its chaotic electoral process.
I knew early on that voters would rush to the polling precincts to try out the new system. True enough, long queues of irate people formed just minutes after the voting centers opened. Aside from the defective machines, the clustering of multiple precincts to a single one for this year's elections added to the confusion and lines of people who wanted to cast their votes.
As I have done in the past, I voted late in the afternoon. And as I've expected, the long lines were gone. I was done in about five minutes, which already included the time I spent feeding the ballot to the PCOS (precinct count optical scan).
The counting process was even speedier, with partial results for the national candidates and full results for the local bets already out just a few hours after the voting centers closed at exactly 7 p.m. the same day.
It also helped that most of the presidential candidates, particularly Nacionalista Party standard bearer Manny Villar, have already conceded defeat Tuesday to frontrunner Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III. This gesture has validated and enhanced the results of the automated elections.
Despite the apparent success of the e-polls, I'm not inclined to commend Smartmatic, the technology provider for this project, which put the country on the edge just days before election day. The company committed too many foul-ups, most especially in the CF card snafu, for it to be given a pat on the back.
I agree with former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Christian Monsod and IT Foundation of the Philippines (ITFP) president Maricor Akol that credit should go the Comelec and teachers who heroically conducted the voting process against enormous odds and complaints from angry voters.
Industry Update Dell Computer Philippines' marketing consumer retail channels director, Jerry Lacson, has resigned from his position. He reportedly filed his resignation much earlier than his boss, country manager Barry Bunyi, who also recently quit his post. There's no word yet as to where the two execs are headed next.
Lacson was a top marketing guy at Samsung Philippines for many years before he joined Dell two years ago.