Showing posts with label GMA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GMA. Show all posts

Monday, May 10, 2010

PCOS is not the bottleneck: Additional Data on Voting Throughput of Clusters (Election 2010)

Did the Comelec commit a huge omission on election day?

Sure, the presidential elections is a huge political process, a huge exercise in patriotism, and a game changing decision making process whose results will affect not only our generation but also the generations to come.

But isn't the elections a huge manufacturing process as well? It is a customer interface of great magnitude. The voters are being processed by a system that is monopolistic, they have no choice on the matter.

Unfortunately, it seems nobody has ever conducted a study of the voting process from the point of view of operations management.

This is a huge omission considering that this process involves 50 million people undergoing a poorly studied and poorly managed physical process.

Comelec and the management groups missed out on designing and conducting a time and motion study of the actual voting process on election day.

Queuing theory, line balancing, critical paths, load distribution, capacity utilization, probability density functions - this could have been a huge management study.

For example, like what I have done below and in the previous blog, the PCOS count and the time elapsed could have been taken down every 30 minutes by the youth volunteers and the by the BEI themselves by filling out a simple form. This process takes less than 10 seconds, every 30 minutes.

All those data points can actually be used to do curve-fitting. When is the peak time? Where is the bottleneck? Is the process quadratic? Exponential?

Can you imagine if Comelec and the management associations had this information collated on the 76,500 PCOS clusters? What a wealth of management information!

In a very simple way, I attempted to do this by gathering actual data from the BEI's (had some extra help, of course) and the survey below reflects my feeble attempt at extracting scientific data and illustrating the kind of studies that can actuall be done.

But then there's always 2013. I can volunteer to help Comelec design such a study. I am not an expert but at least I have already done here what the Comelec and other agencies and private management associations could and should have done. Although, this study below has obvious limitations.

Is the voting process a Poisson process or a Gaussian process? How do we manage the queue? Should we encourage the voters to come early and frontload the process thereby having a peak load at 8am with almost no load at 5pm?

The PCOS is not the bottleneck of the voting process. In fact it has been idle most of the time. The reason for the low throughput is the slow passing of the filled-up ballots by the voters. This is due to the low number of voters being processed at one time.

Offhand, one of my suggestions is: Instead of 10 voters at a time, Comelec should allow 30 (or 15) voters at a time (find the space). After one goes out, one voter must be allowed in. In this manner, at any given minute somebody is finished filling up the ballots and feed it to the PCOS machine.


1. This report should be read in conjunction with the previous blog on voting time.
2. Voter turnout in this school (19 clusters) is only 67.3% (in highly urban district) where the next elementary school is just about 1 to 2 km away. (12,332/18,329 - this is not a small school)
3. Did the voters leave but did not return?
4. The lowest turnout is 57.4% (560/975)
5. The actual throughput of the entire school of 19 cluster is 1.06 min/voter (17.47 hours for 1,000 voters)
6. As of 6:40 practically no more voters.
7. PCOS machines is not primary reason for low throughput. It is the low number of voters passing their finished ballots (instead of 10 voters at one time, they should make it 30)

Survey Time from 6:39PM to 6:54 pm (19 clusters of Mabolo Elem. School Cebu City

ClusterTime TakenTime Elapsed (Minutes)PCOS Count Read (Ballots)RegisteredTurnout PercentageMinutes per VoterFinal Results?

* waiting less than 5 voters as of survey times

Note: The minutes per voter not reliable bec no more voters at survey time

The minutes per voter for those with waiting are applicable

Average Minutes per Voter (for clusters with waiting voters):1.06482117

Average Turnout
   12,332.00    18,329.00 67.3%

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Strategy of Equivalent Action

The Maguindanao massacre in Mindanao was the worst public display of barbarism in recent Philippine history.

Even during the entire Martial Law regime, no such public display of massacre happened. (The massacres of over 50 people in one sitting during Martial Law could have been done in private, though.)

Given the situation, ordinary police action using ordinary rules of police engagement would have been inefficient, ineffective, inadequate.

After all, barbaric and systematic gunning down of innocent women and weaponless journalists being made to kneel before being shot goes beyond the usual commission of crimes.

The crimes were committed without fear of the law. That was the unique element of the massacre.

There was premeditation, planning, and engineering during the commission of the massacre and in the subsequent attempt to hide the evidence using heavy equipment to crush vehicles and bullet-ridden bodies into layers of soil.

Without fear of the law!

Thus, the enraged public needed an action, a very aggressive police action to arrest the suspects and to dismantle their huge private murderous army and eventually to exact vengeance and justice.

The police action that the public needed is similar to Martial Law.

Thus, from my viewpoint, we needed a "police action" that can give us a "similar" force and efficiency of a "Martial Law."

I call this the "doctrine of equivalent action."

The hitherto "unnamed, unidentified undefined" desired action is a police action, meaning it is an executive action by the chief executive, acting as a chief executive. This desired police action is, therefore, a civil action exercised by the chief executive in his/her capacity as head of the civilian government.

For lack of better term, for the moment, I will call this police action as the "Martial Law equivalent action" or simple "Equivalent Action" or simply, "EA."

The action should not be a military action being exercised by the President acting as commander-in-chief of a military organization. It should not be a Martial Law action.

Thus, I make a distinction between the "military action" which is "Martial Law" on one hand, and the "police action" which I call as "Equivalent Action", on the other.

Why the distinction?

The "Equivalent Action" is a civil, police action which does not require the elements of "invasion, rebellion, or imminent danger thereof." It is not a political decision, rather a management decision. It does not expire over a fixed period but subsists until the resolution of the case and the attainment of the objective of exacting justice.

On the other hand, "Martial Law" is a military action. It requires the elements of "invasion or rebellion." It is a political decision in addition to being a military strategy decision because it has to satisfy constitutional requirements. It expires over a fixed period although a subservient congress can extend it indefinitely.

So far, the legal community is divided on the basis of the phrase "invasion or rebellion." Some are in favor of the martial law, some are not.

However, the frustrated, enraged general public are almost unanimous: this is the way the government should handle the barbarians at the gate, the mindless savages who massacred helpless women, journalists and civilians with heartless premeditation and callous engineering. Without fear of the law, without fear of punishment, without fear of vengeance.

As we can see, the public having seen the barbaric massacre supports the Martial Law action ignored the legalities of the term "Martial Law."

The public, therefore, desires the "Equivalent Action", the civil police action that attains the objectives of justice and vengeance without the requirements of "invasion, rebellion, or imminent danger thereof."

What does this mean?

The people are satisfied with the results of the action, not the actual terminology being used.

So here is a tip for GMA and future dictators.

It is within the means of a management decision of a civilian organization, the means of an executive decision of a civilian government to enforce an "aggressive police action" without the need of imposing martial law.

Avoid the term "Martial Law." Don't use it.

Remember, when for the first time in modern Philippine history, the government used the term "State of Rebellion?" The Supreme Court declared that such declaration of "State of Rebellion" was a "political question" beyond the ambit of the Supreme Court.

GMA could repeat the same strategy.

Invent a new term, use this term as the basis of an aggressive police action, and let the lawyers debate the implication of the term in the courts.

The President does not even have to invoke actual "invasion or rebellion."

Because the new term is "unnamed, unidentified, and undefined," the vagueness and the doubt will have to be resolved in favor of "political question", beyond the ambit of the Supreme Court.

Will this result in creeping Martial Law for the entire country? Like the story of the slowly boiled frog?

Ordinarily, that's what extrapolation is all about.

However, there is the fallacy of extrapolation. We cannot just assume extrapolation.

There is always an asymptote. For the Philippines, the people have realized that Martial Law cannot just be imposed in the entire country, again, without them rising against it. Their previous experience with Martial Law gives us a reasonable basis to say that the people have an asymptote of their tolerance for it.

Just because Martial Law has been imposed in Maguindanao with many of the public supporting it does not automatically mean that the same public will support Martial Law imposed in the entire country.

This leaves the Chief Executive about two years of breathing space.

The people do not want "Martial Law", but they want the "Equivalent Action."

And, consequently, I could be the first detainee of the "Equivalent Action."

1. Strategy vs. tactics.
This article discusses the Strategy of the Equivalent Action, and leaves the tactics with respect to habeas corpus, rebellion as a political crime, etc as another subject.

2. This is an exercise in thought; and does not reflect my political beliefs)