RECORD | NPO prints 52 M official ballots in 57 days

Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. inspects the last of the 52,333,801 ballots for the May 13 elections as they come out of a machine at the National Printing Office in Quezon City. (photo by Ernie Reyes,
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- The National Printing Office on Wednesday printed the last 712 sheets of the 52,333,801 official ballots to be used in the May 13 mid-term elections, taking 57 days to do so.

Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. pushed the button to start the machine that would print the last ballot sheets for Pasay City, which was completed in three minutes.

He also switched on the cutting machine to complete the process.

Brillantes called the printing of the ballots a “record-breaking” feat.

“Gusto ko lang sabihin, parang kahapon lamang nandito kami upang umpisahan ang printing. Pero ngayon, nandito kami upang tapusin na kaagad.  Mukhang nagkabiglaan, mukhang nagkagulatan, nagugulat kami at naga-anounce (I just want to say, it was like yesterday that we were here to begin the printing. But now, we are here to finish it. It’s surprising, we were surprised to be announcing that) 57 days, in less than two months, we have finished (printing) the 52,333,801 ballots. It’s record-breaking,” Brillantes said even as he admitted to initial doubts if the NPO could accomplish the job.

“Kung wala tayong balota, wala tayong eleksiyon. Ang ginawa ng NPO, sila ang gumawa ng lahat ng trabahong ito, alalay lamang kami, at sinisugurado namin na matutupad ang kanilang pangako. Hindi lamang tinupad ang kanilang pangako, masyado nilang binilisan (With no ballots, there would be no election. What the NPO has done, they did all the work, we merely supported them and made sure they would fulfill their promise. They not only did, they did so very fast),” Brillantes said.

The NPO’s mandate was to print the ballots on or before April 25.

Aside from Brillantes, also present were Secretary Herminio Coloma, head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, election commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph, NPO chief Emmanuel Andaya and Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting chair Henrietta de Villa.

Bonus for ‘a job well done’

Brillantes announced that a performance bonus would be given to the workforce of the NPO and the Comelec Printing Committee for “a job well done.”

Coloma said the NPO is one of the three agencies under his office that he recommended for a performance bonus based on the criteria set by the Department of Budget and Management, although he clarified that this would still be subject to a study by the DBM.

Once approved, he said NPO personnel would receive a minimum bonus of P5,000 to P25,000 for those who rated “best performers.”