Election 2010 – 1st Automated Election in the Philippines
To many, the May 10 election came as a shock. There were a lot of allegations that it would be rigged and the presidential candidates who asked for manual parallel count would be affected. But when the first transmission was received at 8:36PM, which took less than 10 minutes to import and parse, those who saw the first partial unofficial results were relieved to find out that front-runners came from different parties. We aired the first set of data around 9:15PM.
The objective of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas is to deliver timely information to the public and to act as watchdog. The KBP Board of Directors met with Comelec to coordinate and ask for information on how the election would be conducted. The initial talks resulted with KBP to be given PDF files showing election returns which it would collate to tabulate. In a subsequent meeting with the IT heads of different KBP member networks, they requested for a different type of file. After a few days, we were told that apparently, HTML will be the type of file that would be given… and then PDF again.
Because the workstations connected to Smartmatic’s server at Pope Pius were only 5 (these were used by KBP-2, PPCRV-2, Others, including non-KBP member networks and different parties), and downloading all 76,475 ER’s would take around 2 months, the KBP Board headed by Chairman Ruperto Nicdao, Jr. and President Herman Basbano decided to explore the possibility of partnering with PPCRV.
We met with Ms. Anna Singson of PPCRV at KBP office on the day The Inquirer said that KBP and PPCRV would meet to discuss about the election. Anna said that for them, it would take 1 month to finish tabulating the PDF’s but if PPCRV and KBP would help eachother, we can bring it down to 10-14 days. And if the non-KBP member networks would join us (GMA and NBN), their extra workstation would expedite the process. We will just divide the workstations into different regions so we won’t make waste time downloading duplicate PDF’s.
KBP knew that in the interest of the people, its members had to set aside differences and unite for this single purpose. And with PPCRV, the puzzle would be complete.
That’s how I witnessed the start of the partnership between KBP and PPCRV.
Just when the IT people were preparing for Plan C wherein we would download PDF’s, we were told by KBP’s Executive Director Mr. Hulog that our request was granted by Comelec. However, the company that was supposed to do the tabulation program for KBP already backed out.
Mr. Hulog then approached me after the meeting and asked if we could do something for the members. Though Vanguard Radio Network’s initial plan was to be one of the tabulators just like ABS-CBN and MBC and air the results for the benefit of our own listeners/viewers, I agreed to help and do the program under KBP. Thus, the program or software was called 2010 National Election Results for KBP Members. Its creation started 2 weeks before the election.
I remember my friend from MBC, Mr. Jomai Parroco, coming up to me during the culmination of the KBP anniversary in April, asking me how the program was doing. I said it was making progress. He said, “Surely, you have a team that helps you do it”. Reluctantly, I said, yes, because I saw the different IT teams and I didn’t want the members to fear that the program was being done by one person only. Well, I also thought that technically, I had a team. Whenever there was something that needed an answer, my “Google” team never failed me. So Jomai, I’m sorry, but I really intended to tell you this… after the election. ;) However, your IT person, Tyrone, was seated beside me so I know that while the computer I used shared the information with the outside world and his workstation tabulated independently, the results were the same. That is the beauty of being under one organization. We tabulated separately using different proprietary scripts, but were able to counter check our data.
All 122 KBP member networks representing more than 600 stations nationwide were given user/password combinations so they may give the information to their listeners/viewers as the KBP Unofficial Partial Count or compare it with their results. Unlike the proposed program by the other company, the one shared with KBP can drill down from national, to regional, to city/municipal, to barangay, and up to clustered precinct levels. The data was only available to members so that people would tune in to their stations. The power of radio was shown as its relevance was acknowledged by the people in the provinces. Because national television cannot tell a person who won as councilor in his area, he would tune in to his favorite radio station and text his “requested” election result.
Last night, I was given a plaque of appreciation by KBP which states “In recognition of his unselfish service that made it possible for KBP member radio and television stations throughout the country to bring to the Filipino people in a timely and relevant manner the results of the historic 2010 automated elections. Given this 19th day of May, 2010 at the Crown Regency Hotel, Makati City Phils, signed Herman Basbano-Pres., and Ruperto Nicdao Jr.-Chairman.”
Thanks to the KBP members for believing that we can be united in delivering timely information to the public as one organization.
Thanks to the different IT heads of KBP networks for coming up with great plans that we would use as a team in case we had to do a quick count for 60 days.
Thanks to Raffy Barreiro, owner of RX93.1. While some members were complaining, he gave very encouraging words as we fixed the DSL to give the members access to the server.
Thanks to Ate Nora and the rest of the staff of KBP for making sure that we were taken care of.
Thanks to Exec. Dir. Rey Hulog for suggesting that I do the tabulation program for KBP.
Thanks to Election Committee Chairman Erwin Galang for being able to pull all the necessary resources together, including the partnership with LoadCentral.
Thanks to Jeff, Steve, Jomarc Orpiada and the rest of LoadCentral for sharing their server for KBP’s use at Pius Center and for the sleepless nights that they spent to ensure that KBP gives the quickest but accurate count. Jomarc still goes to Pius everyday to send us the latest files.
Thanks to all the representatives of KBP member networks who stayed at Pius. This includes Mar of Bombo. We have shown that regardless of the different competing networks we represent, we can work together.
Thanks to the men and women of Vanguard Radio Network for their cooperation which led to our first networkwide simulcast.
Thanks to Bruce Mones, Sherwin Racelis and Gear Arellano for not hesitating to help when they were most needed. Bruce, you made our vision in 1997 a reality. Sherwin and Gear, we were the ones talking about it during that time. (You too, Diadz Louis.)
Thanks to my family, especially my wife, Jenn, Kitkat, Boing and Neil, for supporting me while I did the program for 2 weeks, day and night.
Thanks to Comelec for allowing us to get the files that enabled us to tabulate quickly.
Thanks to PPCRV’s Anna Singson for pushing for the type of file that we needed.
Thanks to the BOD of KBP for making the right decision to partner with PPCRV as non-KBP members benefited from it by receiving the same files we asked for (kaya panalo ang lahat ng Pilipino).
Thanks to the Filipino people, for lining up on May 10, eventhough it was very inconvenient, but still did their duty and hoped that the election would be credible.
Thanks to my dad, Manuel Gregorio Galvez, Jr., for buying me a thick “Mastering PHP 4.1” book worth P1,395 on Jan. 6, 2003 with the following dedication: “To Noel, May this book help quench your thirst for knowledge and understanding in this special field of endeavor…Love, Daddy”. After 7 years, you have seen how that single act of generosity towards your son made a BiG difference in the country.
Thanks to Junior Chamber International – Makati or JCI, for always reminding us that “Service to humanity is the best work of life”.
And thank God for giving me the privilege to use my passion for the benefit of this nation.
It’s great to be a Filipino!